Kindle Scribe brings writing to Amazon’s popular e-reader TechCrunch


It’s hard to believe that in 2022, the Kindle could still headline an Amazon event — and yet it was. We’re expecting a lot of news from today’s virtual Amazon event (and a little melancholic that we haven’t been able to cover it since Seattle), but the company’s 15-year-old line of e-readers is the big news. this time.

The Kindle Scribe news comes after things have been pretty quiet on the e-reader front. Kobo keeps kicking but Amazon has completely dominated the category for the past few years. It’s the kind of thing that tends to slow down innovation, aside from the addition of USB-C to the entry-level Kindle and Paperwhite, plus an increase in display resolution at 300 dpi for the first.

But the Scribe brings something entirely new to the line: writing. For the first time since the introduction of the first Kindle in late 2007, Amazon has added the ability to write on the device with a stylus. This is a big new feature for the product, although a few companies have already beaten Amazon here, including Remarkable and Sony, with their DPT-CP1 and DPT-RP1 products.

Picture credits: Amazon

Amazon’s entry into the space has a 10.2-inch screen and a design partially reminiscent of the high-end Kindle Oasis, includes a large side bezel with page buttons you can hold while reading. It has a battery that the company rates at “weeks”, in line with its fellow readers. At 430 grams, it’s (predictably) the heaviest Kindle, which might put some crimp in those bedtime reading marathons.

The device comes with its own stylus, which magnetically snaps to the side, like what you see on many tablets. The stylus does not require charging and instead relies on EMR (electromagnetic resistance) – this means, among other things, that other styluses will likely work with the Scribe, although the company cautions against this (understandably), stating that their own is tuned specifically for work on the Kindle.

A more premium template will also be made available with built-in buttons for quick actions. These styluses allow for a variety of different line styles, although the tips are permanent, which is done through the built-in software accessed via a software toolbar. The company says it specifically designed the screen/stylus combo to mimic the feel of pen on paper.

Picture credits: Amazon

We’ve certainly heard this claim before, and your mileage will vary, although we’ll report back after testing the thing. Ditto for latency, which has traditionally been one of the biggest setbacks of this type of technology. Strangely, handwriting recognition will be missing at launch, although the feature is almost certainly on the company’s roadmap.

It will, however, have a new simplified software offering, allowing files to be shared off-device via the Kindle app, web browser or email. The company also says it’s updated the notoriously outdated Send to Kindle feature to help remove some friction from the process. Meanwhile, a deal with Microsoft will bring Word functionality to the product sometime early next year.

Picture credits: Amazon

The company says the fact that it didn’t launch a Kindle with this feature sooner isn’t for lack of trying. Rather, it was important that it got the right tech, while retaining key features like front lighting and a 300 ppi display across the board (compared to 226 on the remarkable 2). Considering the $90 price hike over the previously most expensive Kindle (Oasis), it certainly makes sense that the company would want to keep these features line-wide. Amazon says it worked with E Ink Holdings (EIH) on the display, which it then customized to meet those specs.

Picture credits: Amazon

Pre-orders for the $340 device begin today, with shipping expected before the holidays (think November). The company will also offer cases that convert to stands via magnets, like the rest of the line. They also have a small loop to hold the stylus in place.

Remarkable has received positive marks for its own system, although the company recently reduced its new premium service from $5 a month to $3, leaving many wondering if the company hasn’t hit the kind of subscription count. on which she had bet. Of course, we can’t speak to the quality of the Scribe without testing it, but the team behind Remarkable is almost certainly weighing their options after this bombshell.

learn more about Amazon's Fall Event, September 28, 2022


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