The Amazon Kindle brand had a banner year in 2021. The company released two new e-readers, the Kindle Paperwhite 11th Generation and the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. These are two of the most popular brands in the world, because they are very affordable and bring tremendous value to the table. Amazon also put a priority on revising the user interface on the Kindle and this had reverberating effects on the home screen and most other menus.
The Kindle Paperwhite 11th generation and the Signature Edition upped the ante for e-readers. The screen size was increased from 6 inches to 6.8 inches. Both models are employing brand new E INK Carta 1200 e-paper. There are some tremendous benefits of the new display panels, such as a 20% increase in performance and this directly allowed Amazon to create the new animated page turn system. Page turn speed has been increased by 20% and overall the entire responsiveness of the Kindle Paperwhite has basically been increased by over 50%, compared to the Kindle Paperwhite 4. Both of the new Kindles have 300 PPI, which makes text razer sharp. They have the ability to buy books, on the largest digital bookstore in the world and also buy and listen to Audible audiobooks via Bluetooth headphones. The Signature Edition supports quick charging and has a light sensor, to automatically adjust the front-lit display, based on your environment.
Over the course of 2021, Amazon slowly started to revise the entire graphical user interface and made things more simple. Amazon has implemented a new home screen for most of their Kindle e-readers. It provides a list of the books you are reading and series of recommendations. One of the downsides, is that it is no longer possible to change the home screen back to the old way, which basically went to your library. Now, there is a library quick icon right underneath the books you are currently reading. Since the home screen has been revised, if you have a Special Offers Edition, advertisements no longer show up on the screen.
There were some other changes on the home screen too. The top navigational tabs have disappeared. This is where the back button, Goodreads, the shopping cart and a link to the Amazon store were. These have all been moved. The store icon is now right beside the search menu, and everything else has been moved to the settings menu. One of the best changes of the settings menu, is about your device, in the past, it gave a serial number, which did not really tell you much. Now it tells you exactly what generation model you have, which is good if you want to resell it or at least know, the model you have.
One of the most welcome changes of the year, was Amazon finally giving users the ability to showcase ebook cover art on the lock screen. This really personalizes your Kindle. Amazon also made some slight changes to the reading experience, adding in features like dark mode.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows on the Kindle. Good e-Reader broke the story that millions of Kindles will not be able to connect to 3G networks anymore in early 2022, since all of their carrier partners are shutting them down, to make more bandwidth available for 5G. This also applies to global 3G networks for international users, however some countries plan on sunsetting them by 2025. It is important to note that Kindles will still be able to connect to WIFI networks to buy ebooks, but won’t be able to connect to 3G networks. The only Kindle models that will be able to connect is the Kindle Paperwhite 4 and Kindle Oasis 3, because they support 4G. Since our articles gained so much mainstream media attention, this prompted Amazon to release an official comment. They basically mentioned the shutdown dates and offered people credit to upgrade. We also wrote an article on exactly what Kindle cellular models will stop working, if you are worried yours won’t work anymore.
What is Amazon planning for 2022? I believe that they will be killing off the Oasis. This is because the new Paperwhites have the same sized screen, and the Signature borrowed the light sensor. The only thing the Oasis had was capacitive page turn buttons, which isn’t enough to release a 4th generation model. The Voyage brand is dead and will never be revived. It might seem farfetched, but Amazon does need a larger screen premium brand device, I have heard 8 inches is a sweet spot for some suppliers. They seem to also be testing the same product to take notes and freehand draw, since Amazon will be able to sell exclusive accessories for it, but the company doesn’t have any experience in the e-note space. I doubt with Kobo entering this sector, that Amazon will let them dominate with note taking deices. Amazon is also testing new concepts, like a foldable Kindle.
Amazon also plans on continuing their firmware updates to change more features on the Kindle, the plan is 4 major updates a year, which a series of smaller ones to fix bugs. They are going to focus on other aspects of the Kindle, such as user profiles, and reading settings. There are also plans for the support new touchscreen gestures to control the luminosity of the front-lit display. The Kindle brand has a new policy going forward, there will be no cellular model variants on any of the future Kindles that come out. The bloody nose they had with the entire 3G debacle, likely soured them on providing free internet access for a one time fee.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve 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. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.