In April 2016, Amazon unveiled its first-generation Kindle Oasis, a 6-inch device with a 300 PPI screen, the same E Ink display that makes reading a Kindle more like reading a conventional book, and an asymmetrical design meant to make it easier to hold for one-handed reading. The original Oasis had a secondary battery integrated into the case. The platform’s storage offered 3GB of user-accessible space, though the first-gen Oasis did have 10 LEDs for backlighting, as opposed to 4-6 on the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage.
The company’s newly announced Kindle Oasis, helpfully named the “All-New Kindle Oasis” because apparently the Amazon dev team stole the marketing division’s funding, increases the screen size from six inches to seven, adds an IPX8 waterproof rating (the first Kindle to do so), packs on some LEDs (up to 12, from 10), a baseline 8GB of storage (7GB of this should be user-accessible based on the 3GB capability on previous 4GB Kindles), an aluminum back, and a baseline price of $ 250. That’s $ 40 less than the original Kindle Oasis’ introductory price, and you’re getting substantially more machine for the same cost.
The $ 250 price point assumes you buy the device “With Special Offers,” a nifty little bit of marketing that Amazon can sell as cutting your price and offering you a benefit. After all, who wouldn’t want special offers‽ The storage improvements will also make it much easier to carry multiple audiobooks at the same time, if that’s your fancy.
According to Amazon, the old magnetic-attached cases are no longer necessary, since the system now includes a larger battery. Exactly how large this battery is unclear, since the new Oasis has the same thickness as its predecessor.
The IPX8 waterproofing has pulled more attention, since this has been a feature readers have wanted for a number of years. As a person who started reading in the bathtub before he hit puberty, and who stuck to baths as opposed to showers because it led him read more, I am obviously a giant nerd sympathetic to people who don’t want to drop cherished electronics into the bathtub or shower. The thought of an accidental toilet drop does not bear thinking on.
While we still have questions about the new hardware’s battery life, this actually looks like a significant update for the platform. The larger screen, additional LEDs, waterproofing, and significantly reduced price make this an easy buy, if you’re looking for a top-end Kindle, anyway. It’s never been clear how Amazon’s Kindle business has fared in recent years, as e-book prices have fluctuated, but the platform is clearly doing well enough for the company to feel comfortable pushing out new hardware.