Amazon Unveil Sleaker and Cheaper Kindle

Today Amazon announced the release of the newest generation of devices to the Kindle ereader family. The new Kindle is thinner and comes with improved screen contrast and double the storage space of its predecessor. The latest WiFi model will retail at $139 and all new generation devices should be ready to ship from August 27th. The Kindle will also get its long awaited UK release on the same date.
From part of the press release:
Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on for two years running. It’s also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Today, is excited to introduce a new generation of Kindle. The all-new Kindle has a new electronic-ink screen with 50 percent better contrast than any other e-reader, a new sleek design with a 21 percent smaller body while still keeping the same 6-inch-size reading area, and a 15 percent lighter weight at just 8.7 ounces. The new Kindle also offers 20 percent faster page turns, up to one month of battery life, double the storage to 3,500 books, built-in Wi-Fi, a graphite color option and more–all for only $189, and still with free 3G wireless–no monthly bills or annual contracts. Also today, Amazon introduced a new addition to its family of portable reading devices–Kindle Wi-Fi. Readers who don’t need the convenience of free 3G wireless can now enjoy the new generation Kindle for the lower price of only $139. The all-new Kindle and Kindle Wi-Fi are now available for pre-order [here] and will ship to customers in over 140 countries and 30 territories beginning August 27.

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  1. Muriel Lede said:

    I don’t care how sexy their device is. As long as the Kindle Store does not support ePub and PDF, count me out.

  2. Mike Perry said:

    Good price. It’s almost to the magic $99 price point. The size is right for coat pockets and the appearance finally looks professionally done except for that still-awful keypad. The feature set is good if all you want to do is buy and read books from Amazon, a category that includes a lot of people.

    But after reading the user manual, I concluded that getting books and documents from other sources is too much a hassle. It requires either sending email with attachments, often incurs charges, or connecting the Kindle as a USB drive and manually moving files to the right folder. That’s unacceptable. On my iPod touch, documents automatically sync via WiFi with my two Macs. I expect no less from Amazon. Treating the Kindle as a replacement for paper should mean that getting a document on to it is as easy as printing to paper. It isn’t by a long shot. And, of course, it should read ePub as a matter of course.

    Amazon is dabbling with ‘experimental’ features that include a primitive web browser, but it seems clear that their heart isn’t in that and the features could languish. With a decent keyboard, these little Kindles would make ideal, on-the-go emailers, particularly since they come with an email account. But there are not hints of that in the works. They’d also work well for displaying to-do lists and calendars, synching with iCal and Google Calendar, but again, that won’t sell more books and is unlikely to attract Amazon’s interest. Ditto a simply note taker. There must be hundreds of list and note taking apps for the iPhone. There’s nothing equivalent on the Kindles.

    No, the real problem with the Kindle is Amazon’s woeful lack of vision. They see it as merely a tool to allow them to dominate the ebook market and not as an all-purpose device like the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

    That is unfortunate. If I’m only going to be carrying one gadget with me, it’s not going to be the less featured one. Besides, reading on my iPod touch isn’t that bad. Yesterday, I caught up on my reading with one at a nearby park. I did have to pick a shady bench rather than a sunny one to be able to see the screen, but that’s no big deal. I prefer to read in the shade anyway. And my iPod touch is no walled garden. I can get ebooks and documents easily and from virtually any source.