Bezos teases new Kindle hardware for reveal next week

E-readers may not be the most exciting space in tech these days, but some of us still find a place for them in our lives — and it is we happy few whom Jeff Bezos announced, with enthusiasm palpable, that new Kindle hardware is just around the corner.

Notably, this is well off the beaten path as far as timing goes: Kindles have generally been announced in September, though it’s true that the Paperwhite was updated last June. But April? This is a new one for Amazon.

So, what could it be? Always well informed on e-reader news, Nate Hoffelder (after fooling me with the promise of an electrowetting color screen) suggests this one will have a battery case, but details are thin on the ground.

The fact is there aren’t many places where potential improvements are obvious. A higher-resolution screen is always welcome, allowing as it would for improved typography. Improved or expandable storage would be nice, although no one should hold out hope for a micro SD card slot. An improved and more responsive interface for selecting and annotating books would make it more useful to students.

My hope is that the company has finally made the breakthrough that will give the screens the same warm look as our familiar paper books. The LED frontlight is a useful feature but its cold cast has always been distracting to me. And a wild new redesign (where art thou, Courier?) is out of the question.

More likely, however, is a handful of under-the-hood advances and integration with newer Amazon products like Alexa. No event is scheduled, so expect an update out of the blue sometime next week.

Not interested in the latest, hottest e-reader features? The soon-to-be-obsolete Kindles currently cluttering Amazon are on sale. Snatch one of those perfectly good devices up for a discount, or use the discount to justify getting the kind that doesn’t advertise to you all the time. Or you could get a Kobo, like me!

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