That day has arrived.
My loaner review unit arrived on Thursday morning, and the first thing I did after taking a few unboxing photos was to plug the Kindle audio adapter into my Kindle Oasis (also a loaned review unit).
Voiceview for Kindle started working on my Oasis as soon as I plugged in the adapter into the Oasis’s USB port. The Kindle started reading the menus to me aloud (via earbuds) and explained how to use the new feature.
This feature also works on the Kindle Voyage, although some additional steps are required.
Also, you will need to supply your own headphones, earbuds, etc. They’re not included.
It is designed to be used by anyone who can touch but not see the screen. Simply move your finger around the screen, and the Kindle will tell you what is under your finger. (Amazon explains the options in detail on its site.)
You can double tap to select a menu item, or use one of a limited number of gestures, and you can disable Voiceview for Kindle simply by unplugging the audio adapter from your Kindle.
You can also disable the feature by removing the Kindle Oasis cover (I found this out the hard way).
Edit: You can find the Voiceview settings menu through the “quick actions” menu. It’s the sun/gear symbol on the menu bar. According to my tip at MobileRead:
In VoiceView settings you can toggle VoiceView On and Off, engage a Tutorial, adjust Reading Speed (from .66x to 4x with 8 intermediate speeds), and Volume (from 1 to 8, default is 4).
Voiceview for Kindle works with the dictionary, Wikipedia, and translation feature (although they are rather hard to navigate). It does not work with the Kindle’s web browser, Kindle Freetime, or audiobooks
, and there’s no obvious option for changing the voice’s speed.
But it is simple to use and the hardware is equally simple.
I now have two reports which confirm that the Kindle audio adapter is a generic USB to audio converter which works with any headphones, earbuds, or speakers. Amazon charges $20 for it, but you can put together your own unit for less than ten dollars on Ebay.
The only limitation is that the voice is currently limited to English, and you might need to install the voice file.
The Kindle Voyage, for example, does not have the voice. Also, at least one 7th-gen Kindle Paperwhite in Germany does not have the voice (probably because the Voiceview for Kindle has not officially launched in Germany). But it does have the software, and you can download the voices separately (from this page on Amazon.com).
All in all, Voiceview for Kindle still needs some work. It’s not as intuitive as it could be, but I still feel Amazon has managed to over-deliver a feature which is not available on any other current ereader.