What’s New? The waterproof Kindle Paperwhite

Photo: Amazon

Amazon released a new version of its best selling Kindle e-reader – and while it’s very similar to the device that many of us have gotten to know and love, this time it has a great new feature, it’s waterproof.

About a month ago I was very close to buying the Kindle Oasis, and while it is much more expensive than any of the other Kindle e-readers with a price starting at $249.99, the reason I wanted to buy it was that it is waterproof. The idea of being able to read by the pool or while taking a bath without worrying about dropping it in sounds great to me.

What’s new?

The new and less expensive Paperwhite is now waterproof, and with the incremental updates, and the known quality of this e-reader model, this is really a good deal. The new Kindle Paperwhite is available for pre-order now, it will be released on November 7, 2018.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is 10 percent thinner and lighter, it has an additional LED light, and the storage options are 8GB to 32GB. This new Kindle Paperwhite waterproof’s feature has been tested to withstand immersion in 2 meters of fresh water for 60 minutes. Be careful not to drop it in the ocean, I am not sure this device will be able to handle the sea water.

The display is similar to the previous version, a six-inch Paperwhite display with E Ink Carta and built-in light, 300ppi, optimized font technology, 16-level grayscale.

What it doesn’t have

The new Paperwhite Kindle is not Alexa-enabled, and this is excellent news. For a bit, I was worried that Amazon was going to enable Alexa with this new Kindle, but they didn’t, and that is smart. Part of the success of this Kindle has been the fact that it is a single-activity device, and that is perfect. I hope Amazon keeps it like that.

I’ve pre-ordered my new Kindle Paperwhite already, and I can’t wait to take it to a pool nearby or the bathtub and continue reading through my book collection.

You can pre-order your Kindle Paperwhite here.

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Commentary: Home devices are becoming less cool and more creepy

Amazon, Google, Apple, and now Facebook are now all pushing for home invasion, they are fighting hard to get conquer the consumer’s home (and possibly your car), and while competition is great for us consumers, not everything about this is good for us.

When Amazon released Echo with the wonderful digital assistant Alexa, I was pretty excited, I bought one, and I’m still pretty happy with it. It took Google and Apple a little bit to respond with their own flavor of a smart speaker/home assistant, but they did. So far so good.

I have to admit, when the Google home device was released, I started to worry about all of this. The Amazon Echo, while creepy sometimes, it’s not entirely aware of my life, it knows what toothpaste I buy and how often but it doesn’t know about my contacts, my email, etc. Also, it’s good to know that Amazon’s primary business model isn’t advertising, and neither is Apple’s.

Now, Google is another story, but I’m still trusting them with my email, and only some of my searches and internet browsing (I’ve switched to Firefox as my primary browser and DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine).

Facebook is where I feel the line has been crossed into creepiness, I just don’t trust the company now, and I am definitely not feeling that bringing Facebook’s eyes and ears into my house is a wise choice. And how can we trust them? They haven’t been playing nice with consumer’s privacy and why would they? Facebook’s business model is advertising, and their success is the result of highly targeted advertising that is only possible by them collecting multiple data points from us, our contacts, and our online (and offline) behavior to create detailed profiles that can be bundled and offered to whoever needs them.

I invite you to read Ben Thompson’s weekly article with the title The Battle for the Home which inspired this brief commentary.

Alexa, Are we there yet?

Amazon hosted a hardware event in Seattle this week, and as expected, it introduced an array of new and updated Echo devices, including the Echo Auto. That’s right, an Echo that you can bring with you, in your car. Echo it’s Amazon’s line of smart speakers and screens, and with the addition of Echo Auto, there is now an Echo device for your car.
Amazon Alexa is the software, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news (Wikipedia).
Amazon’s new Echo Auto will be a hit, I just know that right now. The price point is low, starting at only $24.99 with the introductory offer (By invitation only ) that will save you 50% for a limited time. The regular price is set to be $49.99. This device will bring Alexa’s virtual assistant capabilities to your car, making it safer for you to get information, listen to music, etc. while you drive since all you have to do is talk to it and use voice commands instead of moving your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel.
This is revolutionary, and I’m not talking about the tech of this device but the strategy behind it. The Echo Auto is a simple device, it’s small, it has the full power and versatility of the original Echo, and it will make Alexa accessible from any car, for just $24.99 with the starting price. The benefits of taking Alexa on the road thanks to this new device, the Echo Auto are many. Safety is the first thing that comes to mind, with the Echo Auto, we’ll be able to have amazing hands-free capabilities in our car by just using our voice. No more looking away from the road just to play a song, or make a call.
Just ask Alexa to play music, resume your Audible book, check your calendar, find nearby businesses, make calls, and more. With eight microphones, Echo Auto even hears you over road noise. Echo Auto starts up in seconds, works through your car speakers, and uses your existing smartphone plan. ~ Amazon
The Echo Auto also brings entertainment, you can ask Alexa to tell jokes, play a game, play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. In my case, having Alexa in my car will allow me to play my podcasts, audiobooks, or listen to the news briefing – all of it without having to use my hands or stop paying attention to the road.
There are already cars with the Alexa software built in, but this little device allows everyone to bring Alexa’s functionality into their car, any car. One concern I have with this (as I do with the rest of the Echo devices) is privacy, and as Amazon continues to conquer the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, and now the car with its line of smart speakers, I just hope they also continue to maintain the interactions of users with Alexa private.
Alexa, Are we there yet?
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