Opinion: The latest update to the Kindle family of devices could add some welcome add-ons to e-readers.
Kindle is one of those few products so well known that its name can act as a byword for the category of e-readers as a whole. However, while it is widespread, and often very well liked as well, it must be said that the product itself is not always dynamic or rapidly developing.
While the easy-to-read e-ink display has remained a mainstay, it took until last year for all devices in the range to finally adopt USB-C connectivity, pulling heels apart from most other similar portable devices. While it undergoes fairly regular updates, reviews tend to be minimal, and it’s not as easy to spot the different generations of devices as they are.
Now, you can say very reasonably that there is no need for big annual updates like the ones we see in the smartphone market, because the e-reader is just a simple device with basic functionality. However, I think the introduction of taking notes or drawing with Kindle Scribe, is exactly the kind of change that could push this range up and give more functionality.
In allowing users to take notes, annotate and draw, the nature of the device has changed from being one of consumption (reading books) to one of creativity. This change could allow readers to not only take notes on what they’re reading in order to aid their understanding, and possibly provide an educational benefit, but could allow them to draw or write themselves directly on the device, rather than having to take any extra accessories with them.
Whether or not this new development will be completely successful depends on the implementation of this concept; Kindles have previously been criticized for incompatible file types that they use, and this issue can only become more prominent when you want to share notes or drawings you’ve made.
While we’ve admired other e-ink tablets over the years, such as the Remarkable 2 (and it must be said that e-ink is a unique thrill once you try it), the concept for it still sees only relatively limited success, hasn’t fully conquered the mainstream and remains a niche tool . With the Amazon Kindle IP behind this concept, it can be said that it will become more and more enticing to a wider audience.
The Kindle range has always been a reliable and consistent – but not particularly flashy – selection of products from the retail giants, although it has occupied its market corner very effectively. Kindle Scribe can add an extra killer feature, bringing a bit of life and creativity back to the product line.