Amazon has just unveiled a new USB audio bundle that allows Kindle e-Readers to give audio prompts when clicking on menus and text to speech functionality for listening to e-books.
VoiceView for Kindle, which uses Amazon’s natural language text-to-speech voices (formerly known as IVONA) lets visually impaired customers read millions of Kindle books and navigate the Kindle Paperwhite via speech feedback. Like VoiceView on the Fire tablets, VoiceView for Kindle supports linear and touch navigation, and the same broad range of speech feedback rates and earcons.
Visually impaired customers will be able to use VoiceView for Kindle with the new Kindle Audio Adapter—an Amazon-designed USB audio dongle—to connect headphones or speakers, which then allows the ability to listen to and navigate the user interface, in addition to listening to books. The Kindle Audio Adapter was designed specifically to be used with VoiceView for Kindle. U.S. customers can purchase a bundle of both the Kindle Audio Adapter with the Kindle Paperwhite, and VoiceView for Kindle will be available in the future with other Kindle e-readers as well. Customers who purchase this bundle will receive a credit back on their account to cover the cost of the Kindle Audio Adapter, so they won’t have to pay extra for accessibility.
The only e-reader the new adapter is compatible with is the latest generation Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon says they are looking to make it available on other units in the future, such as the Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.