Did Amazon Kill Off the Kindle Keyboard?
Amazon 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.
John Bullough May 17, 2013 um 2:57 pm
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.
Cookie May 17, 2013 um 3:20 pm
That was the last eink device still for sale with Text to voice capability I assume.
Nate Hoffelder May 17, 2013 um 3:22 pm
Tom Semple May 17, 2013 um 7:51 pm
There are still refurbished Kindle Touch’s for sale on Amazon.com.
flyingtoastr May 17, 2013 um 3:33 pm
"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.
Tom Semple May 17, 2013 um 7:59 pm
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.
Tim Gray May 18, 2013 um 3:01 am
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.
Alison May 21, 2013 um 12:27 pm
I bought another KK when the paperwhite came out without TTS or page turn buttons – glad I did!
Hannah June 10, 2013 um 7:47 pm
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
Patti July 10, 2013 um 7:10 am
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.
Lynne July 5, 2013 um 2:42 am
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.
Marta October 21, 2013 um 8:17 pm
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!).
Mizz July 10, 2013 um 12:27 pm
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.
Anne July 12, 2013 um 5:30 pm
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.
Jacob July 17, 2013 um 10:30 am
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.
TBord August 23, 2013 um 1:42 pm
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.
Anne August 23, 2013 um 4:11 pm
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.
Patti August 24, 2013 um 6:36 pm
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.
S Keane May 14, 2014 um 11:29 am
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.
Patti May 20, 2014 um 1:32 pm
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.
Ouch! Text to speech is also AWOL from THIS year’s Paperwhite from Amazon – The Digital Reader October 12, 2014 um 11:46 pm
[…] supposed solution for neglected TTS fans last year was the Kindle Keyboard, but then Bezos has dropped that model; at least I don’t see Amazon selling new ones. I suspect that the wishes of his marketers […]
Dollie goad October 22, 2014 um 2:49 pm
I hate to see this. Although it does explain WHY I can’t access facebook with my 3g Kindle keyboard anymore. Shame on Amazon!! That was only outside contact I had.
ajay October 25, 2014 um 5:44 am
You’re not alone in this Dollie Good, many people can no longer access facebook/twitter on kindle keyboard.
Jamie October 29, 2014 um 7:24 pm
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.
jbulloug December 12, 2014 um 6:20 pm
The reason Kindle Keyboards cannot access Facebook as well as other sites like Twitter, is that the security protocol used by the experimental browser (SSL) is no longer supported by many websites because of some security holes. The browser does not use a more modern security protocol (called TLS) that is required to access more and more websites. It is not clear whether Amazon will update the browser, since it is an experimental feature.
jbulloug January 14, 2015 um 8:32 am
I am happy to share that Amazon has updated the Kindle Keyboard browser so it now uses TLS security protocols and can once again access Facebook and other secure websites! Look for system update 3.4.1.
Sean Donovan January 22, 2015 um 12:33 pm
Yup, the 3.4.1 update makes htttps and secure websites work on Kindle Keyboard now. Awesome!
Calvin G. October 27, 2014 um 2:37 pm
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.
susan simpson November 5, 2014 um 2:01 pm
i love my kk son got it for me 2yr ago birthday prezzie best ive had goes every where with me feel so connected or i did till few weeks back cant get facebook anymore!!! real shame and shame on Amazon pull your finger out support customer as we do you!!!!
patti November 14, 2014 um 9:59 am
I too have a KK and cant connect to FB. Nor my AOL mail ! I contacted tech support twice. 2nd call I was told (after we tried some manual troubleshooting–to no avail) that the issue would be sent to the developers and I would get a call back. No callback yet! I will be a squeaky wheel. I wont quit. Please…everyone who owns a KK…let’s band together and be heard! This is unfair.
cameron November 20, 2014 um 8:50 am
where can I go to kick up a fuss about my KK no longer accessing Facebook? I travel constantly for work and have often relied on the accessibility of FB and Gmail to communicate with peers while abroad. I will gladly help take up the cause but who can I contact and how? Amazon probably doesn’t want the issue resolved because they must pay a lot in 3G fees. Can we contact Facebook? let me know how I can help!
Doreen November 24, 2014 um 5:15 pm
Just experienced this block of FB this past weekend( same msg- “Web Browser is unable to establish a secure connection with this website.” ) but yet, it does not give me the option to continue with an unsecure connection, AND I can still access Amazon and Goggle. I am currently and have been for nearly an hour on with customer support- installing updates. of course to no avail! the 1st tech, did genuinely seem baffled and probably thought I was a nut bag when i started about Amazon purposely blocking social media over greed. the 2nd tech, however said straight out that…he thought it was more related to the cell phone companies blocking the 3G coverage. Supposedly they are continuing to work on this issue, and I will receive an Email if they find a solution. I will continue to call and complain, but I doubt we will ever get this resolved…….
Jessica Woodbridge January 4, 2015 um 10:10 am
I love my kk, I have had it 3 years and downloaded loads of books. I love the fact that I only charge it once a week, even though I read sometimes all night (I have trouble sleeping) and I love the fact that the storage is so good. 3g was also a must as wi fi hotspots are few and far between , surely the fact that you pay extra for the 3g model helps towards the cost of the 3g, also, every book bought must help towards the cost, it can’t be that expensive. Having a physical keyboard is also a great thing because touch screens don’t always respond as they should and having buttons either side is fantastic because it doesn’t matter if you are left or right handed and it doesn’t interfere with the screen as much as touching the screen to turn a page does. I have a tablet now, but I didn’t want a tablet at the time, I wanted something I could just have books on. I have a tablet for music, games and surfing the net, the kk was great for just reading, it didn’t have the intrusive screen glare and I didn’t have to watch how long I read for fear the battery would go flat. Bring it back.
Megan January 11, 2015 um 11:08 pm
Shame Amazon, Shame!
For those of us who are vision impaired or have print disabilities, the Text to Speech function is a necessity. I bought a Kindle Keyboard for the TTS function and the tactile keys to enable easy use.
Amazon’s decision to stop producing the Kindle Keyboard is inconsiderate, thoughtless and bordering on discrimination.
People with disabilities would have chosen this particular e reader for the TTS and keys … not to have yet another toy/gadget to play with.
I am addicted to my KK, usually reading for around 2 – 3 hours every day. I will be searching high and low for new or used KK’s ready for when my beloved first KK leaves this world.
Not only has Amazon discontinued the KK, but many publishers do not enable TTS or have started disabling TTS to force customers pay more for audible versions. Interestingly, Amazon own audible.com so they don’t stop publishers from discriminating against, and ripping off the print disabled.
Good luck fellow KK lovers! 🙂
P.S. If this was a gender, colour or sexual orientation issue, Amazon would fix it immediately. The print disability minority obviously don’t rate on the publicity scale.
Tyler January 12, 2015 um 11:19 am
As much as it sucks, Amazon is under no obligation to have speech to text capabilities in their Kindles. They have added that you can buy and download Audible copies of books to follow along. There is no one making Keyboards anymore built into their e-readers. The market moved away from that to have lighter and cheaper to make e-readers.
Why just pick on Amazon when no one does it anymore?
Amazon Rolls Out Update for Kindle Keyboard, Fixes Web Browser Issues ⋆ The Digital Reader January 14, 2015 um 11:08 am
[…] Amazon hasn't released a changelog for the update, but my source told me that the v3.4.1 update fixes the web browser issues which users first identified in October 2014. […]
nancy lloyd June 2, 2015 um 10:29 pm
Please amazon give us our 3g access back. When ive been in remote parts of Bulgaria this has been my only means of keeping in touch with family in the UK. I love my old kindle for reading and listening to and being able to access internet was a godsend. Please sort it. Maybe we should boycott Amazon till they give it back.