Did Amazon Kill Off the Kindle Keyboard?

kindle book stack whiteAmazon has kept their 3rd Kindle model around for nearly 3 years, and today it looks like it is on the way out.

Engadget reported this morning that the Kindle Keyboard 3G model was out of stock at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Normally I wouldn’t have paid attention to the story (Target hasn’t carried the Kindle since last year), but I double checked the reports and it looks like Engadget was half right.

It’s not just the 3G model that is out of stock; I think Amazon has quietly discontinued all Kindle Keyboard models. Both the 3G and the Wifi models of the Kindle Keyboard are out of stock at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Staples. But that’s not all; I can’t find any  Kindle Keyboard models in stock on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, or Amazon.fr.

I’m still waiting for official confirmation from Amazon but the current stock situation presents a pretty clear picture. This ereader has been discontinued, or at the very least it looks like Amazon has stopped making them.

Update: I have an early response from one reader who was told by Kindle CS that the Kindle Keyboard has been discontinued:

I understand your concern that you love the Kindle Keyboard device and I’m sorry to inform you that our company does not manufacture the old Kindle devices due to the in demand of the newer version of Kindle devices. I’m so sorry for the disappointment caused.

Amazon initially launched the Kindle Keyboard in August 2010 as a replacement for the K2, which was launched in early 2009. The KK followed the the same design as its predecessors, and it had a 6″ E-ink screen, 4GB of storage, speakers, and a keyboard.

Amazon launched more Kindle models in 2011 and again in 2012, but for some reason known only to Amazon they kept the KK around. Amazon even pushed out updates for this ereader which gave it support for the latest features of KF8. Many owners appreciated that Amazon kept it around, because after Amazon replaced the Kindle Touch with the Kindle Paperwhite, the KK was the only Kindle model that was equipped with text to speech.

I thought Amazon had kept the KK around because it filled a different product niche than the basic Kindle and the KT/KPW, and now that the KK is gone I have to wonder what will replace it.

While it is possible that Amazon killed off the KK simply because it wasn’t selling well anymore, there is also a chance that Amazon is going to replace this ereader with an updated model. We could soon see a KK with a 6″ HD E-ink screen, or possibly even the 6.8″ screen that is currently used by the Kobo Aura HD.

On the other hand, I checked the FCC and there were no new filings that might possibly belong to Amazon.  So perhaps the KK was simply discontinued.

I am waiting to hear from Amazon, and I plan to update this post if I do.

25 thoughts on “Did Amazon Kill Off the Kindle Keyboard?

  1. From Amazon.com’s reply to my query about KK being discontinued: “I understand your concern that you love the Kindle Keyboard device and I’m sorry to inform you that our company does not manufacture the old Kindle devices due to the in demand of the newer version of Kindle devices. I’m so sorry for the disappointment caused.” This was followed by a plug for the Paperwhite 3G.

  2. “Amazon launched more Kindle models in 2011 and again in 2012, but for some reason known only to Amazon they kept the KK around. ”

    Simple. The same reason BN is still trying to get rid of NST’s – they had a large supply that didn’t sell and it’s taken this long to clear them all out.

  3. I thought that one reason they kept it in the lineup was because it was long the only device in their lineup that could be called ‘accessible’. But the 2nd Gen Fires now have just as much accessibility, and the iOS app has outstanding accessibility (thanks to iOS). So they don’t need it in their lineup to compete for federal/state contracts and stuff like that.

    The other reason it was in the lineup was that people still were buying them. But I assume everyone that wanted one has one, and now they have finally sold out their inventory. Look how long DX lasted, I’m sure long after the last one rolled off the assembly line and even with big markdown sales on Woot and Amazon.

  4. I like mine, and found later non-touch models messed up the design of the page turn buttons. I don’t see why Amazon would need to replace it though. All it needs is an affordable model and a high-spec model.

  5. The only real reason I can think of is that they figured out that they could make more money by having the consumers options limited to only wifi or 4g which you have to pay for through your cell phone bill

    1. Hannah, I absolutely believe you hit the nail on the head- it is about getting rid of 3G not getting rid of text-to-speech because there will be even more need for that from now into the future, what with great numbers of aging baby boomers finding it convenient and needed. It’s always about the money and how to split each feature ever smaller and kaching up those charges for each.

  6. I sincerely hope that Amazon will offer another device with text to speech to replace the Kindle keyboard if it has indeed been discontinued. There are many people with a range of disabilities, not only the visually impaired, who have KKs for this feature. The robotic text to speech voice, although not great, is far superior to the hard to hear, insipid, whispery text to speech voice offered on the Kindle Fire.

    1. I have a kindle keyboard and I love it specially because of the text-to-speech feature. English is not my native language and sometimes I’m not sure about a pronunciation of a word and that feature helps me a Lot! I hope they add that feature to the paperwhite in case something bad happens to my kindle (which I hope it doesn’t of course for a long long time!).

  7. I have had the problem of my keys on it wearing off after only a year, Amazon has replaced it several times. Yesterday, it was still on the site, but as of today it gone. This is a known manufacturing defect, they sealant used on them was not applied or not applied correctly causing the paint to wear off.

  8. I was bought my kindle kk for Christmas 2011 but it was stolen in February this year. I have searched high and low for another. I need the keyboard and am not interested in the fire. I don’t want apps, I want to read and make notes on what I am reading.

    Also, I work in a hospital school. We have kindle kks to lend to the children with all the GCSE texts on them. They need the text to voice feature, they need the keyboard to make notes on the texts and they need text to voice not only if they are lying in bed sick but because it supports the text for those with any form of learning or reading difficulty.

    The 3G feature means that we can download the books without being in a wireless zone, of which there are few in the hospital.

    I found a kindle kk in a clearance in Curry’s and there are a few in our local cash converters, but this is a dreadful way to treat customers. Even the chap in Curry’s did his utmost to sell me a fire, like Angry Birds was going to beat Tess or even Fifty Shades! When I insisted he had to sell me the kk display model as it was the only one in the shop.

    Snap them up when you find them I say. For me they are the best device kindle ever produced.

  9. I just purchased one of these for my wife for our wedding anniversary. Not arrived yet but very excited – I paid £47 for one from eBay. It’s used but in excellent condition, and is cheaper than the basic Kindle new.

  10. The most annoying thing about this is that they don’t offer a Kindle that replaces the Keyboard 3G with its key features: Physical buttons that turn the page + 3G connectivity. I can’t stand the idea of having to touch the screen every time I want to turn the page. I tend to read holding the Kindle in one hand, and the page buttons allow my to turn the page with a tiny squeeze of my thumb. I can’t believe I’m the only person out there than hates the idea of a reader that requires so much hand movement.

    1. Here here. On packed rush hour trains I can literally turn the page with the slightest pressure and from either side so it makes no difference where I am on the train. Try dealing with a newspaper on the central line from Stratford! I can also be holding my bag and umbrella. Anything that requires two hands in these situations is no good.

  11. My K G3 kb is – for 1. the text to speech and 2. the 3G. Despite familiarity with touch tablet I like the page turner buttons on the Kg3. But- I fear the g3 doesn’t work because I haven’t seen it ever work. It does not go to 3G if it senses any kind of wi-fi around at all!
    I wish a text to speech model with its own lighting and 3G would be released (like that will happen again; maybe they shut off the 3gkb and sellers didnt say so?)
    I am an older woman with no disability yet requiring this particular Kindle but with eye intensive work, text to speech gives my eyes a rest they sure can use.

  12. I love my Kindle Keyboard and will use it as long as I can. I prefer the more tactile way of navigating my way around, and it stops be grasshopping, as I do on other tablets. I love the screen and I can also have music and audiobook on it. I’ve several touch-screen devices, and can access my ebooks on them but nothing beats the original kindle.

    1. same here! I will use it till it quits on me. Every time I use it I am again glad I bought it, “obsolete” as it may be. The 3g does work- and it has come in handy. It has great sound and I put old acoustic and folk music on it. It is slim and fits in most of my purses and the charge still lasts quite awhile. I do wish it lit up but then it would eat the charge. When I go camping this summer- well I shall just bring a candle or pack it with Coast am radio show mp3 files.
      Looks like I’d better keep an eye out on Amazon to see what they do with new Kindle models and be on the look out for a refurbished KK3G if necessary.

    1. I reported the issue of no longer being able to access FB/Twitter a couple of weeks ago.I was told the Developers were aware of the problem & were working on a fix.I checked in today & was told the same thing.I may be getting the run around.Hope more
      people will contact them & ask them to fix the issue.I gave them the pop up msg I’m getting. “Web Browser is unable to establish a secure connection with this website.” Strength in numbers as they say.

  13. That is rubbish about them not being popular. I’m sure the data companies were just angry at them for selling so many models with free access to the Net! Even discontinuing them they should still support the models. Like someone said on here – in the past, my KK was my only access to FB and the Net. I own a Kindle Fire but guess what – I have not been connected on any network because it was defective out of the box (would not acknowledge any networks). You would think Amazon would support the 3G for a few years at least! Shameful treatment of their customers after otherwise sterling service.

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