Covers for the 2017 Oasis drown in poor reviews

When it was released, I bought myself the new 2017 Kindle Oasis e-reader. I did NOT buy the Amazon-branded cover and right now, I am feeling pretty happy with that decision. Both the leather and the fabric versions of the Amazon cover are getting extremely poor reviews from customers. The products are currently at a two-star average rating.

The main functional complaint about these covers is that the cover keeps sliding and falling off the device. Like the original Oasis, these only cover part of the device. Many customers are complaining that because of the new aluminum back on the device itself and weak magnets in the cover, the device offers little protection for the expensive Oasis.

There are also complaints stating that the covers are flimsy, poorly designed and over-priced for a product that costs $45 for fabric and $60 for leather.

Since the new Oasis is really slippery, it is a difficult device to use without a cover. I have a device bag, but for right now, I am refusing to take the device out of the house without a cover.

Several third-party covers are starting to crop up on Amazon, but none are sold by Amazon itself or available via Amazon Prime shipping. One of these does look interesting, however: The MoKo Case for All-New Kindle Oasis (9th Generation, 2017 Release) РPremium Ultra Lightweight Shell Cover with Auto Wake / Sleep for Amazon Kindle Oasis E-reader Case, BLACK. This is a clamshell case that is only available through a vendor that ships directly to the consumer and the delivery date is two weeks out with expedited shipping. MoKo makes a number of covers for Kindles and Fire tablets that are available on Amazon. I am predicting that this one will soon be available as well. I own several of the MoKo covers and have found them to be well made and to fit well.

Did you buy one of the new Oasis covers? What are your thoughts?

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2017 Oasis unboxing photos

My new 2017 Oasis arrived yesterday. I got the 32GB version. I am still in the process of setting up, so no real initial impressions so far.

Here are a few unboxing pictures:

The box in the sleeve:

The sleeve and the inner box:

Open box with the first view of the device:

Box contents and Kindle Tree logo:

Device on first setup screen and box content view:

Back of Oasis (in horizontal view):

Since I really prefer third-party covers to styles and prices of the Amazon ones, I haven’t bought a cover for the device yet, so my use of will be somewhat limited except at home.

The Kindle Oasis is currently sold out, with the next shipments expected later in November.

New updates bring Audible to basic Kindle and new customization options

Today’s announcement of the all-new Kindle Oasis included big news on the integration of Audible audiobooks into the device.¬† Audible integration will roll out as an update when the new Oasis device ships on October 31, 2017.

Also included in the announcement was the news that the basic, entry-level Kindle (current generation 8), along with the first generation Oasis,  will also be getting Audible integration over the coming months. This may be a feature that makes the basic Kindle (which does not have a backlight) more desirable as a device for prospective owners. As noted in this post on The eBook Reader, at least according to its reviews,  the basic, entry level kindle is not well liked.

Today’s announcement also included news of new firmware updates that would add new settings for reading customization, including new font sizes, bolding options and new margin options including an option for left-aligned¬† /ragged right text..

The new features are:

  • New Font Size and Bold Settings: Now choose from more font sizes than ever before–and five levels of boldness–for whichever font you choose to read with. Combined with the new, 7-inch Paperwhite display, you can personalize your books so it’s perfectly comfortable for your eyes.
  • New Accessibility Options: In addition to the OpenDyslexic font, we’ve added a feature to invert black and white on the display if you have light sensitivity. The new enlarged display option also lets you increase the size of items like the text on the home screen and library as well as the book icons to make the all-new Kindle Oasis easier to read.
  • Light Settings: Built-in ambient light sensors automatically adjust the display to your surroundings whether you’re in a dimly-lit room or outside in the sun–and can be fine-tuned even further based on personal preferences.
  • Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text.

To me, one of the most intriguing of the new features is the ability to invert black-and-white on the display for those with light sensitivity. This is generally a feature found on apps and tablets, not e-ink readers (although there is supposedly a hack for the Kobo line here.). My old Literarti e-reader had this feature, and I can tell you, being able to read white text on a black screen in a dark room Is a great feature for reading in the middle of the night without disturbing your partner! ūüôā

The new firmware features will be delivered as a free over the air update to the Kindle Paperwhite and newer devices starting today.

Amazon releases new kindle Oasis model

Given the recent number of sales on Amazon’s Kindle line¬†and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the release of the original Kindle, many, including myself, expected the announcement of a new Kindle was in the works.

Today, Amazon announced an all-new kindle¬†Oasis. The new device has a larger, 7″, 300 ppi display. The device is also¬† waterproof, a feature that many other high end e-readers already have and one that many customers have been asking for. The device is IPX8 rated, which protects against immersion in up to 2 meters of water for up to 60 minutes. According to Amazon, there are also battery improvements to the new device.

Probably one of the most frequently requested features for the Kindle is for the return of the text-to-speech features for the e-Ink devices. The TTS function was a feature in the earlier Kindle models and is currently available on e-ink Kindles only via the use of a special adapter. Built in, it is presently only an included feature on the Fire tablets. While Amazon has not restored text-to-speech in this new device, they have integrated Audible audiobooks with the Oasis.(See here to learn about Audible.) This device still doesn’t have a headphone jack or speakers and instead uses a Bluetooth connection to provide audio. You must provide your own Bluetooth headphones or speaker.

The Amazon description says,”With Audible built in, you never have to put your story down and can switch easily between reading and listening without changing devices.” It is unclear if that implies whether this model will be capable of enhanced Immersion Reading,¬†which allows for both audio and reading highlighted text at the same time.

Because this device is designed to work with Audible files which are quite large, the device comes with more storage and more storage options. It is available in an 8GB configuration which is twice the amount of storage included with the original Oasis. The device also comes in a 32GB configuration, which will be helpful for storing the larger file sizes associated with  audio books, comic books, etc.

One of the most interesting changes to the new Oasis is the fact that it does away with the integrated battery cover of the previous model.¬† (You can read my views on that cover here.) The previous model’s covers were only available in leather, a fact that was upsetting to many who preferred a vegan option for a cover. This model’s covers come in a variety of colors in both fabric and leather options.

The new Oasis costs $249.99 for the 8GB WiFi-only model. The 32GB WiFi-only model is $279.99. The Oasis is also available in a 32 GB cellular configuration for $349.99. Fabric covers sell for $44.99 and leather covers cost $59.99

All models are available for pre-order now and will start shipping October 31, 2017.

Old Kindle forums closed, redesigned help forum unveiled

As I wrote about last week, Amazon announced that it would be closing its Kindle discussion forums. The original closure date was listed on a banner as October 6, 2017.

(Click picture to enlarge)

Amazon later posted that the forum would actually close on October 13, 2017:

When announcing the discussion forum closure, Amazon had promised a new, improved experience in the Kindle Help forum on October 9, 2017. As I noted in my last post, the main difference between the two is that the Kindle customer discussion forum included off-topic discussions and was a separate forum from the official Kindle help forum.

Amazon actually closed the forums on the original date, Friday, October 6th. Amazon did the same thing to the forums on IMDB.com, announcing one date and then closing the forums in advance of the deadline. (And, no, users were NOT happy.)  Amazon seems to have closed ALL of customer discussion forums as of Friday.  All of my bookmarked pages are returning error messages.

The newly redesigned Kindle Help forum is now up and running. It has a very different interface that the old one and includes sections for the Kindle, Fire, Fire TV, Echo and Alexa, and Digital Content. The forum also has its own unique (and easier to remember) URL: amazonforum.com. For now at least, the old forum URL still works and redirects to the new domain name.

Have you checked out the new forum design? What do you think?

Amazon confirms Kindle, Fire discussion forums to close October 13, 2017

Amazon has officially announced on the that the Kindle discussion forum (https://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle) will be closing on Friday, October 13, 2017.

The pinned notice on the board reads:

Amazon would like to thank the members of this community for contributing to the discussion forums. As we grow and evolve, we encourage you to explore Goodreads Groups for books and Spark for other ways to engage with your interests. If you have a help question about your device, starting the morning of October 9th , Pacific Standard Time, we will be introducing an improved help forum experience, with expanded discussion categories.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group
Spark: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16907772011

The post is closed to comments.

The discussion forum has been around for ten years, since the announcement of the very first Kindle. It contained Kindle-oriented topics, including popular threads on discounted Kindle books. Customers also discussed various issues and  customers offered other customers unofficial assistance. (Note that the forum that is closing is the Kindle Discussion forum, not the official Kindle Help Community forum.)

Almost the same notice is posted on the Fire forums at https://www.amazon.com/forum/fire/.

There had been a lot of speculation on various discussion threads about Amazon closing the forum since some members had intermittently seen a banner announcing the forums closing on October 6, 2017. It seems that much of the confusion was probably caused by the fact that everyone was not seeing the banner and even those who saw it didn’t see it consistently.

According to threads on the forum, prior to the notice, people were calling Kindle support and getting a variety of answers about the closing.

For many years, you could access the Kindle forums, via a menu link on the main Kindle page. Over the last year, Amazon had deprecated that function and the forum was difficult to find unless you had it bookmarked or were subscribed to email notifications on one of the various topic threads.

Amazon had also recently removed the search function from the forums.

Before I bought my first Kindle, this forum was a tremendous help. I was able to read about the Kindle and get the opinions of people who actually owned and were using the device. Given the fact that the device was $400 at the time, that forum was instrumental for me in researching and ultimately deciding to buy my first Kindle. I don’t think I would have bought my first Kindle without it. It was also a godsend in learning how use the new device.

As a blogger, I also found it a great source of information about issues that affected both the e-ink Kindle and the Fire tablets. Many of my posts on Amazon devices had their genesis in post on the Kindle discussion forum.

The forums also had a dark side.  Many of the regular posters on the forum could be quite snarky about repeatedly answering the same questions over and over again. Authors self-promoting books was also a problem and downvoting topics was a constant source of contention.

Given the fact that Amazon has also done away with the forums on sites like IMDB.com, I am not surprised the they are closing the forum. It is sad, however.

Amazon is directing customers to Goodreads and Spark (an Amazon community exclusive to Prime members). There are members suggesting everyone write Jefff Bezos at jeff@amazon.com to ask for a reprieve on the forums. Some customers are also discussing starting communities on other sites such as Reddit as a replacement.  You can also find already thriving communities on Kboards and Mobileread.

The new Kindle Help Community update will be available on October 9, 2017.

Did you use the Kindle Discussion forum? Are you going to miss it?