Amazon launches Kindle Scribe alongside raft of smart home products

<span>Photograph: Amazon</span>
Photograph: Amazon

Amazon has unveiled the Kindle Scribe, a new E Ink Kindle that aims to be the e-reader’s first writing-friendly device.

The Scribe is designed for use as a more general-purpose tablet than Amazon’s other E Ink Kindles. Where those intended to do away with traditional paper books, the Scribe’s goal is bigger: it aims to replace paper entirely.

“Kindle Scribe is perfect for reading and writing, even in direct sunlight,” Amazon said. “The large display gives you room to take notes and [keep a] journal, and makes it easy to adjust font size and margin width for improved reading comfort.

“Writing on Kindle Scribe feels like writing on paper. From the natural grip of the pen in your hand, to the sound you hear when you write, Kindle Scribe’s surface is crafted for the best possible reading and writing experience.”

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Users will be able to add handwritten notes to books, scribble on pdf files, and make notes in their own documents, Amazon said. But one key functionality is absent: Scribe owners will not be able to write directly on to ebooks bought from Kindle publishers. They can make attach notes to a specific point in a book, but are unable to, for instance, underline a sentence or write in the margin next to it.

Like other E Ink Kindles, the Scribe will feature a “warm light” for the screen, and Amazon advertises a battery life of “months for reading and weeks for writing.” The Scribe is available for preorder from Thursday for £329.99, and will be released on 30 November, Amazon says.

The Scribe is by no means the first device of its sort. Competitors including Kobo, with its £349 elipsa tablet, and the £279 reMarkable 2, already have equivalents on the market. The Kobo elipsa even offers the ebook annotation features the Amazon Stylus lacks. But neither company has a fraction of the market share of Amazon’s e-readers, and the difficulty of transferring large collections of bought books means switching devices is a hurdle for many.

Alongside the Kindle, Amazon announced a raft of products for its smart home platform, led by the Halo Rise, a bedside light that can track breathing rates to offer analysis of its owners’ sleep patterns. The company promises that it can do so without needing any cameras or microphones in the bedroom, and that it can even separate your breathing from your partner’s (provided you are closer to the Rise).

The Rise can then use that data to wake you up slowly and peacefully, “simulating the colours and gradual brightening of sunrise” and pairing it with analysis of sleep cycles. The Rise launches in the US only, starting at $139.99, with no shipping date confirmed.