Amazon has made official the return of a device many thought was bound for the e-reader graveyard, the Kindle DX. The DX is Amazon’s big-screen reader, with a 9.7-inch e-ink display and a full keyboard at the bottom. It’s almost comically oversized compared to the more popular and current e-reader models, which include the Kobo Aura HD and Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, and the technology within is now almost three years old.
Dedicated e-readers as a category seem to be suffering at the hands of ever-cheaper tablets. So why did Amazon bring back the odd duck out in a family of weird waterfowl? Amazon isn’t saying, at least not in any great detail. The company says that it’s “excited to offer customers this option” in an official statement we received when we contacted them about bringing the mammoth reader back (and said the same to The Verge), but that’s about as deep as they go in discussing both the absence and the return. We’ve reached out to see if they can provide more context.
Kindle VP Jay Marine did say back in October that Amazon was likely through with the DX, though he did specify that it wouldn’t abandon it. The DX was originally positioned as an education-market-oriented device and essentially offered a way to better present textbook content. I actually bought one, but not for education purposes; I hoped that the larger screen would provide a better reading experience for long-form articles from publications like The Atlantic.
Amazon has never broken out sales numbers for specific models of Kindle, or even for the Kindle itself. But the lumbering DX, with its $379 price tag (which has since been reduced to $299, the same price as the 32 GB Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet), it likely never had more than a small cult following. The DX returning to the store might be tied to Amazon’s efforts with WhisperCast, which offers easy provisioning for educational institutions and organizations, because at this price, who else but those types of groups would buy it?