OPINION: I was in the crowd at Amazon’s latest Device and Services event today (September 20) eagerly awaiting one particular product to get a much-needed refresh. I can’t quite believe it didn’t happen.
Amazon’s event, which took place at the brand’s recently opened office in Arlington, played host to a number of reveals – both for hardware refreshes and updates to its Alexa voice assistant.
In terms of hardware, we got the Echo Hub, updated Echo Show 8 and a selection of Fire TV, tablet and Ring updates. On the software side of things, Amazon focused on generative AI additions to its Alexa service and a conversational Let’s Chat feature. It was a busy 90 minutes with the majority of Amazon’s divisions getting some time to shine and show off their new wares.
But there was one thing missing and it just so happened to be the product refresh I was hoping for the most – a new iteration of the flagship Kindle Oasis e-reader.
Amazon last updated the Kindle Oasis in 2019. However, even this was a minor update over the 2017 model. That’s a long time for a product to go untouched, especially when the rest of the Kindle range has moved on a fair amount over the past few years. Even though it remains the priciest reading-focused Kindle (not counting the larger, more productivity-focused Kindle Scribe) the Oasis lacks a number of features found on even the basic Kindle, including USB-C charging.
After updating the Kindle Paperwhite in 2021 and the regular Kindle in 2022, it all seemed set for Amazon to include a refreshed high-end e-reader in its latest hardware event and I am still very much surprised it didn’t. Of course, an updated Oasis could still be coming this year, but after announcing the Scribe at the very same event last year it would seem odd to leave it for a separate announcement.
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Amazon’s apparent reluctance to refresh the Oasis could also mean the line will be discontinued once current stock levels run dry. This wouldn’t surprise me, especially as the Scribe has taken the spot of the Oasis as the luxury Kindle model and the Kindle Paperwhite has picked up some key upgrades in recent years, including the larger display once a selling point of the Oasis.
As good as the Paperwhite is – and it is very good, easily the best e-reader and best Kindle available right now – I still find myself sticking to the Oasis. Mostly because the Oasis is the only Kindle with physical buttons for flipping through books, which I much prefer to the touchscreen elsewhere. Plus, it’s also the only model with a true high-end feel, thanks to its metal construction.
After seeing updates to multiple tablets, Fire Sticks, and Echo devices, I am still surprised we didn’t finally get a Kindle Oasis refresh. Hopefully this doesn’t signal the end for Amazon’s luxurious e-reader.