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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon announces four new Kindle Readers



I woke up this morning to some great news from Amazon.com.   The company announced not one (as earlier posted) but four new Kindle e-readers, with prices starting at US$79.  On the Amazon website, CEO Jeff Bezos called the new devices the "best Kindles we've ever made." 

The top of the line among the new Kindles is the Kindle Fire.   The Kindle Fire offers Wi-Fi connectivity and a web browser called Amazon Silk which will use cloud computing to speed access to content over the Internet.  The device is basically a souped up version of the Kindle with a 7-inch color touch screen.  Many pundits are claiming that this gadget is the only real threat to Apple's iPad.  For one, at US$199 it is really way cheaper than Jobs's tablet.  However, Kindle Fire does not come with a camera, a microphone and a 3G connectivity which may not appeal to those who want to these features.  

One of the things that stopped me from considering Kindle Fire is its backlit screen.  I have a first generation iPad and I have to admit that I find it hard to read on it for a long period of time.  Unless Amazon can transpose e-ink technology, I think this gadget will be good for consumption of other media, namely music, magazines and movies which does take long periods of time.

What I am considering is the new Kindle Touch.  This new addition to the Kindle family comes with an easy to use touch screen to make it easier to turn pages, all you need to do is tap to turn a page.  It still comes with e-ink technology and connects through Wi-Fi for access to the Amazon Store.  It is only 6 inches and is lighter at 7.8 ounces.  Battery life is also great - it can last for two months on a single charge without the wireless connection.  If you leave the wireless on, it will still work for 6 weeks on a single charge.

I would really want to know more about the X-Ray Feature of this gadget.  Amazon explains it as "a new technology that lets customers explore the 'bones of the book'."  It says that with just a single tap, readers can see all passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, etc. that interests them.  I think it's worth exploring.

A 3G enabled model of the device will also be available.  The Kindle Touch will be available at US$99 with special offers.  What this simply means is that you will receive special offers and sponsored screen savers.  However, these will only appear when you are not using your device or at the bottom of the screen.  Amazon promises that it will not interfere with our reading.  If you don't want these special offers then opt for the one that does not come with it, priced at US139.  Prices for the 3G enabled model start at US$149.  Both models will be available on November 21, 2011.

If you don't want a touch screen model, there's the Kindle.  The new latest generation Kindle is for readers who want the lightest, most compact Kindle at an incredible price. The latest generation Kindle features a new design that is 30 percent lighter at just 5.98 ounces, 18 percent smaller, and turns pages 10 percent faster. Kindle is now small and light enough to fit easily in your pocket and carry with you everywhere, yet it still features the same 6-inch, most advanced electronic ink display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.  It comes with a price tag of only US$79 and is available starting today at Amazon.com 


(all images from amazon.com)

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