Amazon has never really embraced physical page turn buttons on modern Kindle e-readers. The first few generations of the Kindle had physical page turn buttons, but most of these are so old, they are no longer in active use. The only modern models to use physical buttons are all three generations of the Kindle Oasis. The only model to use capacitive buttons is the Kindle Voyage. One of the most interesting things that was ever done is the inclusion of haptic feedback. This gave users a small buzz that gave everyone an indication that a page turn was made. This feature could be turned off completely in the settings menu. Why did Amazon give up on haptic feedback?
The Amazon Kindle Voyage came out in 2014 and is still available for sale on the Amazon website. There are various options to choose from, such as WIFI only or WIFI and cellular. The cellar option only provides 3G internet access, which many telecom carriers have shut off, so I would not go with this model. There is also added savings if you want a Special Offers version, which includes advertising on the sleep screen and home screen. One of the advantages of the Voyage in 2022, is that it uses the old Kindle home screen, which many users seem to like. The new home screen totally revised the search bar, and removed the icons at the top, leading to the bookstore, Goodreads and other aspects. There is less a priority on customization and more book recommendations.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink Carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080 and has 300 PPI. It was the first Kindle to have a flush screen and bezel, whereas all previous Kindle and Kinde Paperwhites had a sunken screen and was also the first to have an ambient light sensor to control the front-lit display.
Many e-readers on the market have physical page turn buttons such as various Pocketbook models and the Barnes and Noble Nook. When pressing down on the buttons you receive a satisfying click, because you have to press down on them to turn a page forward or backward. The Kindle Voyage capacitive strips were called Page Press technology, which were flush completely with the bezel. You can turn a page and there is a small vibration that users feel, that is courtesy of haptic feedback. This is quite similar to when your phone rings when you have the audio turned off, so you know when a call is coming in. The Voyage was the first e-reader in the world that had capacitive buttons and also haptic feedback. Within the settings menu there are a number of options to tweak how hard you have to press in order to turn a page, or shut off Page Press completely and rely on the touchscreen for swipes and taps.
The Kindle Voyage was the first and last e-reader to use Page Press. Amazon likely spent countless hours developing it and hundreds of millions on the e-reader when it hit mass production and then marketing it all over the world. Why would they completely abandon the technology after one single e-reader release? It would have made sense to include it on each Oasis. Could have it have been the cost? Amazon does have systems in place to monitor what you do on your e-reader, such as touchscreen interactions, button presses and what you view in the shop. Did they determine that the vast majority of users shut off Page Press and did not even use it? We might never know the real reasons why this was shuttered and never used again. Amazon is notoriously cagey about hardware and software features and does not publicly disclose anything regarding the Kindle, unless its a new firmware update or new model they are promoting.
Did you like the haptic feedback system on the Kindle Voyage? Do you continue to use it? Drop a comment below.
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.