No matter how cryptic Jeff Bezos may want to be, Amazon’s worldwide reach means that it’s not just Seattle that has to stay tight-lipped when a new product is close to dropping.
It seems as if China’s Tmall.com wasn’t able to keep the lid on the next version of the Amazon Kindle, and tech blogs Kindle Fere and The Digital Reader managed to grab screenshots of the device — called the Kindle Oasis — before the page was pulled down. At a glance, the Oasis measures both thinner (3.4 millimeters, at its thinnest) and lighter (131 grams) than the Kindle Voyage (7.8 mm and 180 grams, respectively) and boasts a similarly bright 330 dpi screen.
Where the two devices divert, however, is in the symmetry of their design. While every Kindle thus far has featured a flat design, the back of the Oasis features an assymetrical “bump” on the side reverse of the physical buttons, which would ostensibly make the device easier to hold for those who prefer one-handed reading (i.e., commuters and coffee-drinkers). This raised portion measures about 8.5 mm, which may throw off some Kindle aficionado’s sense of style with the tradeoff of what seems to be improved ergonomics. Indeed, since the device is asymmetrically designed, built-in accelerometers adjust the orientation of the text when readers change hands — a workaround for the uneven handholds.
Aside from the device itself, it appears as if the Kindle Oasis will support charging via a proprietary case. Leaked images show a cover for the device with connector pins built into the side that aligns with the raised portion of the back of the device, which would be a logical place for the battery to be stored.
Amazon hasn’t released any information on when the its newest Kindle might be released, but if the Oasis is truly it and Tmall jumped the gun, expect an announcement soon to cut down on the already rampant Internet speculation.