Friday, May 31, 2013

Kindle News: Kindle DX Graphite quietly available again while Kindle Keyboard ("K3") is not shown available anywhere

...When what to my wondering eyes should appear...

...but a miniature eReader that's not so miniature, on the Kindle Family product page banner.

  Alongside the 6" readers suddenly redisplayed is the 9.7" Kindle DX Graphite E-Ink Kindle with the Pearl Screen with more contrast (resembling etched text) that was released in late 2010 and the disappearance of it lamented by those who want a larger screen for easier reading and fewer page turns, even though it was far more expensive than a 6" device and still is.

  I was alerted to these changes by the ever-watchful Nate Hoffelder and his The Digital Reader site.

At the right are my own Kindle Keyboard (KK or K3) next to my DX Graphite to show the size differences in the real world.

  If you click on it, you'll get enlarged, zoomed-in versions of the photos plus some other photos when pressing 'previous' or 'next' on the right of those pages or using the keyboard left and right arrows (sometimes).

  The image is apropos because the Kindle Keyboard, aka Kindle 3, shown has, on the other hand, quietly disappeared from availability for U.S., UK, and Int'l areas.

  I'd read a news site report that there were rumors that the Kindle Keyboard would not be continued as a new-purchase reader (with refurbished or used ones available) but didn't think more about it.
  It seems to be an unnoted discontinuance as there is no wording to encourage people to wait for any to be in stock.  They do not know if they'll become available again for new purchases.

  The larger DX, now that it's back and even showing in the 'Kindle family' banner, may fill a need for an eInk reader with audio capability and larger storage space as well as the larger display of text and a long battery life relative to LCD color tablets.

It is NOT 'touch' though - there's a physical keyboard on the Kindle DX although I'd never call it easy to type on.  I always have to watch what I'm typing when I do annotations or searches.

The Graphite model, at the time of its release received International 3G.  As with other e-Ink Kindles, the 3G is used for downloading of books, magazines and and for free 24/7 access to Wikipedia).

 Here's some info I added late last year when they were having a sale on the DX, for $299, the current pricing they are showing in red letters.
The Kindle DX Graphite

For more on what the DX Graphite model is like, here are Day 1 reports on it in the Kindle forums after it was released

  Also, here are reactions to the DXG by the tough-minded Mobileread Forum folks, a crowd which tended to favor the Sony display before the Kindle Graphite DX was released.

A 6" Kindle? Or the largish 9.7" DX?
This was a common question I was asked at the time.  I wrote a blog article, when the first Kindle DX was released, about questions you should ask yourself before deciding between a smaller, more carryable Kindle and the larger, more readable one.

  The advice would be the same for the current 6" models and the DX Graphite Kindle though, except that the current 6" Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Touch and Paperwhite have considerably darker fonts than the old Kindle 2 had.

Screen examples of older DX model (White) with fewer features, showing PDFs, landscape mode, sheet music
Here are examples of material (PDFs and sheet music) as displayed on my older Kindle DX before they improved the model with the DX Graphite which has darker fonts and higher contrast.
  These will still give you an idea.  Click "next" at upper-right of the image page to get more examples as you go.

I've no idea why the Kindle Keyboard is being phased out (if it is -- you never know, as they suddenly bring back older models, as with the DX this week), but the following may be factors in the disappearance of the Kindle Keyboard and the return of the DX Graphite keyboard.

  1. Too many models of the same size confuse prospective customers
  2. Less demand, on the whole, for 6" e-Ink displays (with the Kindle Paperwhite being such a hit with everyone I know, at least locally), leaving EInk Holdings with fewer mass orders from other makers (pure conjecture on my part), leading to more competitive pricing.
  3. Economies of scale that make it less expensive to produce the larger display now.

Nevertheless, the DX at $299 is more expensive than the 16 GB Kindle Fire HD tablet, but it offers the ability to read text outdoors and has a battery life 25 days or so longer.  I tend to ask people to look at the pricing for 32GB LCD tablets (rather than the 16GB ones) when comparing prices, because 16 GB is not enough comfortable storage space now when dealing with multimedia files.

These are different animals (eInk vs LCD tablets) but $299 ($300) is not trivial.  It'll all depend on personal needs or wants.  It's timely, as many who already own one have asked on forums how they can ever get another one if their current DX should meet its maker someday (I'm not talking Taiwan).  It's a niche device though.  Personally, I'm glad it's back though mine is still going strong, since I revolve use with a 6" Paperwhite and HD tablets.

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

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  1. I love the size of my Kindle HD Fire but I'm very upset with the battery life. I charge it overnight, use it at lunch and then when I get home in the evening. It is in the red after 2 hrs in the evening. I also have a hard time telling if it is charging because it doesn't have a light like my Kindle keyboard. I like the size of the Keyboard for reading (easy to hold) but like all the other stuff I do on the 8.9 HD.

    1. Debora, that definitely shouldn't happen. Some find that if you do the power-"restart" once after a software update or when it's new, that problem may be fixed. To do this:
      Press the power button for 21 seconds (Ignore the question about powering off), then after a few seconds rest, press it again to turn it back on.

      That might solve it. If not, give Kindle customer service a call at 866-321-8851 to let them know and they can help you find a solution or send you a replacement. Hope this gets better for you very soon!

  2. I commented on this elsewhere, but why Amazon is doing this is gnawing at me. At $299 you can get a KFHD 8.9 32 GB, which would seem to be a better product save for: keyboard, battery life, and collections (:grin). But at $299 it just doesn't seem compelling (and I'm a big DX fan -- it's the first kindle I ever bought -- and I paid almost $500 for the privilege). Could they have stumbled across some unsold inventory??? That doesn't seem reasonable. The best I can come up with is that this is a price/brand placeholder for a future product (even that seems weak).

    What I'd like to see is something at this price point based on the Liquavista technology which they just bought from Samsung. However, people knowledgeable about such things say that they probably couldn't ramp a product based on Liquavista quick enough for this Christmas' selling season. At this late date I just can't imagine that there'd be much of a market for the KDX.

  3. So, I just bought a Kindle DX on Amazon for $199, new. They also happen have the Amazon black leather case for $9.99! (Amazing--it is normally $49.99!). I wanted you to know this page had a lot to do with the decision. I have had (and LOVE) my Kindle Keyboard (graphite, last version), and I am very much looking forward to getting acquainted with my DX. I am going to be using it for textbooks [I am an adult student--currently in psychology grad school/hell (just kidding--I love it)] and some leisure reading, not as a replacement to my Kindle Keyboard, but as a supplement, an alternative for reading textbooks and other media better suited to the big screen (including PDFs I download via EBSCO for research).

    I too have wondered much about the future of the DX, and was overjoyed when I discovered the current version is going for $199, new. I suspect there may be a new one on the way, and while the rumor mill is pretty thin on this (amazon isn't saying diddly), it will likely be a Paperwhite DX which will mean: less battery life, more fragile, and MUCH more money. So, I think for $199 I made a good decision. I would expect any new DX to be at least $350, if not higher, which means out of the realm of affordability. Thank you for providing an excellent, comprehensive information source--you helped this decision get made.

    For the curious, my favorite features of, and the reasons I decided to buy the DX, in order:

    1) Replaces huge, heavy textbooks (less to carry around, and FAR easier to hold to read than a 12lb psyc text--and yes, some are even heavier than that!)

    2) Love the eink display for reading outdoors. The only way to make it possible to read outdoors on an ipad or other tablet (I have a 10.1" Toshiba Thrive--pretty much only used for watching Netflix on the go, and as a digital photo frame) is to crank up the brightness to maximum, which means your battery charge will dwindle rapidly. AND you will still have the reflection issue--the LCD tablets are all glass, and as such, are super-reflective. Using one outdoors (where I like to I read) is almost impossible. And if you are in direct sun, forget it--even at maximum brightness, you won't be able to read. The eink Kindles completely OWN this market, and for this reason, I feel the DX must live on! (Please? Are you listening, Amazon?)

    3) Battery life is a huge factor. I never worry about my Kindle running out of charge when I leave the house for the day. It just isn't an issue. When do I charge it? Whenever it crosses my mind. :)

    4) saves money (sometimes) on textbooks. I buy used hardcover textbooks, when possible (paperbacks cannot stand up to the abuse of travel and heavy use). Unfortunately, it is not always possible, and this means I sometimes have to go new. The Kindle editions of new textbooks seem to be between 10% and 25% less than new, printed textbooks, more when you prefer hardcover over paperback, as I definitely do.

    Anyway, thank you again.


    1. Matt,
      i love your photography - the appreciation of the most basic scenes, light on everyday surfaces. Interesting, my two majors in college before quitting to get married for awhile were music and psych. Both remain of super interest.

      With the DX, I'm optimistic, because they WERE out of stock for a long time and then apparently produced some out of the blue and have lowered the price nicely. Maybe E-Ink, Inc, was able to find some way to get economies of scale in some way.

      Whatever, the bigger size is needed. It is so easy to read (though I am more entranced with my 8.9" HDX lately, as I am into the things you use your Thrive for, more than reading these days, alas. But, I can read on the 8.9" fairly well in daylight. But you can't, as you point out, beat the battery life. And, no matter how tired and bleary my eyes get from too much time with a desktop or laptop with LCD screen, going to eInk after that is instantly relaxing and I can read for hours more w/o strain, so I know what you mean
      Hardcovers are sturdy, substantial, etc., but there is the unbearable lightness of being a DX relative to that :-)

      Thanks for the great feedback, Matt.

  4. andrys, thx for showing the dx and keyboard 6 in the photo. it now becomes clear that the dx shows much more text than the k6. i just ordered one! thank you.

    avid reader here, and i, too, own a k6 keyboard, a k paperwhite and an ipad. im a heavy user, so dx will get loads of use (tiny one-button page forward, dont fail me!!)

    thx for your review and pics

    1. Coolkayaker1, you'll like it. It's even much clearer, with great contrast. It's not Touch-functioning though. The one-button page forward is at least twice the size of what you're used to on the smaller eInk keyboard, so you will actually like that.
      I never missed the ones on the left on this bigger eReader.

      Thanks for writing to let me know. If you have time, follow up with your reactions to it after awhile!


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