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How does Amazon's new Oasis go beyond earlier Kindles?

Amazon's next generation of Kindle e-readers, the Oasis, features a smaller design and enhanced technical specifications designed to refocus on the reading experience.

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    Amazon's new Kindle Oasis with its leather charging cover.
    Courtesy of Amazon.com, Inc.
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More than eight years after the launch of its first Kindle, Amazon is poised to launch a smaller, lighter e-reader with a months-long battery life.

The Kindle Oasis, unveiled Tuesday, will be the eighth generation of the e-reader platform that many thought would be obsolete by now. The original Kindle launched alongside the iPhone. Smartphone saturation has skyrocketed since, leaving the single-purpose Kindle family with a small niche in the market. Despite that, the Kindle persists, and Amazon hopes the Oasis will prove its best attempt yet at providing a book-like experience free from outside distractions.

“There’s nothing wrong with reading on a phone or a tablet, but in the modern world, when you read on a tablet, you are bombarded,” said David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices, to The New York Times. “Incoming email. I might get a notification, a text message from my family. I might get a notification from Clash of Clans. It takes away from our original vision, which is to get lost in an author’s story.”

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Amazon aims to cut away outside distractions by making the Kindle experience as close to reading a book as possible. The Oasis is 30 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than any previous iteration of the Kindle; it weighs 4.6 ounces and at its thinnest is 3.4 millimeters thick. It will also feature 60 percent more lighting than previous models and a 300 pixels per inch display for a bright, sharp screen.

Aside from its technical upgrades, the biggest change is the enhanced battery life. Oasis comes with a book-like leather cover that doubles as a charger. Together, Amazon says, the device will last for months. With the case detached, the e-reader will still last for weeks.

“To lean back and read for hours, you need a sanctuary from distraction,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a company release. “We want Kindle to disappear, and Kindle Oasis is the next big step in that mission. It’s the most advanced Kindle we’ve ever built – thin and ultra-lightweight, it gets out of the way so you can lose yourself in the author’s world.”

The basic Wi-Fi enabled version of the Oasis is set to sell for $289.99 and will be released on April 27, while a 3G version will sell for $359.99. The Kindle Voyage, Amazon’s last iteration of the e-reader, retails for $199.99.

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