Kindle-ebook-next-to-row-of-books.jpgText to speech—wasn’t it supposed to be forever on Amazon E Ink machine starting with the Kindle 2? The Kindle DX and Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch continued the tradition.

After all, TTS cost little to include. And it was a big help for people with disabilities and others such as joggers.

But today even the overpriced $200 Voyage lacks TTS, whether for marketing reasons or others such as a maniacal passion for the slimmest possible device.

Now I’m pondering something else, the long-term future of USB ports on e-readers. Smack in the middle of a Mobile Reader discussion of whether shoppers should wait for a Voyage 2, a forum poster wondered if the USB port might vanish from the Voyage in the interest of easier waterproofing and what-not. In fact, the poster said it should.

And, I thought, how about other Kindles where waterproofing and wireless charging would be nice?

That would be a positive. Not so nice, however, would be higher barriers in Amazon’s walled garden, perhaps in regard to matters such as DRM and font issues.

Certain control freaks at Amazon have worked hard to prevent you from easily uploading your own fonts to get around the ignominiously limited choices the company gives you.

For years I have been pleading in vein for an all-bold option. No luck so far (unless perhaps advocates of the blind have succeeded here, as part of their campaign in New York and elsewhere to make K-12-useful books more accessible).

Regardless of all the talk of Amazon as a customer-centric company, there are limits.

And as I’ve already shown with the example of the TTS removal, Amazon can go backwards—especially if Jeff Bezos keels over and doesn’t wake up.

Simply put, do not take your USB port (or a variant of it) for granted.

Amazon owns the U.S. market for E Ink readers. A lot of crazy things can happen just because Amazon can get away with them.

Let me emphasize that I’m not saying that the USB port on E Ink readers from Amazon and others is in major danger right now. But let’s keep an eye on this issue.


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