Amazon Introduces Blind Accessible Kindles
After suspending such products for years, Amazon has reintroduced lighter, thinner and blind accessible Kindles
Amazon Inc. has announced its latest blind accessible Kindle. The announcement of the e-reader came on Wednesday. Apart from its returning feature of accessibility for blind readers the device is a lot thinner and lighter.
Primitively, the e-readers had features including text-to-speech, headphone jacks, and speakers, which help the people with compromised eye sight to read. However such features were suspended after the fourth-generation Kindle Touch, which was released back in 2011. Once the e-retailer began commencing its LCD-screen Fire tablets, it eliminated audio features from the Kindle. This move makes the e-reader line inaccessible to blind users.
The retail price of the new e-reader is $80 with ads, while the gadget without ads will be available for $100. Just like its predecessor, it only has 6-inch e-ink touch. Also, it is now embedded with Bluetooth wireless technology and random-access memory and Bluetooth wireless technology, a first of a kind for Kindle e-readers.
The general usage of Bluetooth is transmission of speech or music. For the soon to be launched Kindle, the Bluetooth will read the e-books aloud when attached to Bluetooth speakers –such as Amazon’s own Echo –and headphones. Back in 2015 company’s VoiceView speech technology made its debut on Fire tablets. The technology has capability of reading interface functions such as reading menu-navigation items.
This latest e-reader has enabled the blind shoppers to buy the Kindle. Director of communications for the National Federation of the Blind, Chris Danielsen, has commended the step saying that it’s a big one however its sustainability and execution will make it bigger.
The National Federation of the Blind hasn’t assessed the new Kindle till now but, Mr. Danielsen has expressed that his organization has been regularly meeting with Amazon in order to increase the e-book’s reading accessibility, chiefly in the field of education. The company’s announcement has been made ahead of the organization’s annual convention scheduled to be held next week. For such convention, Amazon is an exhibitor and sponsor.
The grave question however relates to the simplicity of the procedure, of connecting Bluetooth audio device to a Kindle, for a blind person. At some time during May, the e-retailer announced an audio adapter, carried with Kindle Paperwhite reader with the exclusion of any extra cost. When plugged into the reader’s USB port, the adaptor will turn on VoiceView, spontaneously.
Regarding the latest Bluetooth Kindle, Mr. Danielsen cited, “We would be much more thrilled with a single-gesture way of setting it up, rather than a complicated set of instructions.”
The e-reader explained the functions of VoiceView by stating that its accessibility is just one touch away. One of Amazon spokeswomen said, “We’ve done a lot better job of making the out-of-box experience better for customers that need accessibility features.”
CEO Jeff Bezos’ company isn’t the sole vendor which is offering an option for blind people however it has modest dominance in America’s e-book market. According to Mr. Danielsen, Amazon has presented several form of accessibility on iOS apps and Fire tablets but the return to text-to-speech feature is something which doesn’t require any premium.
The new Kindle design is expected to be beneficial for the blind people as it is not only easily accessible but in line with the affordability. Amazon’s Kindle business is soaring high and the latest step will increase its sales, substantially. Most probably, after the convention, hosted by the National Federation of the Blind, more details of the latest tablet will surface. The future will hold the performance bar of the latest e-reader.
At the market which closed on Thursday, Amazon.com Inc. stood at a price of $710.62. The 52 week range of the stock is $419 to $731.5.