Let’s be honest — you saw this one coming, didn’t you? Today Amazon is introducing a new reading device for e-book aficionados dubbed simply… the Kindle. The new handheld — slated to be released on August 27th — is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous model, has a 20 percent faster refresh rate on its E Ink (yep, still E Ink) screen, and will now come in two colors (graphite, like its big brother the DX, and the original white). In addition to the color changes, there will be two radio configurations available: a $139 WiFi only version, and a $189 3G version (utilizing AT&T’s network, just like the last model). The screen will remain the same 6-inch size as the last two Kindles, though the company claims page turns are faster and contrast is improved. The internal storage on the device has been cranked to 4GB, and the battery life is now rated at a month with no wireless, and 10 days with wireless switched on. The company also announced plans for a UK-localized version at £109 and £149, respectively, as well as a UK e-book store.
Along with the big changes, there have been minor tweaks as well — the keyboard and five-way controls have been streamlined and altered slightly. The rocker is now more compact and flush with the device, and the side buttons have been modified in length to emphasize the forward paddles, while the back buttons have been downsized. Software wise, there are some interesting new features, the most notable being the inclusion of an “experimental” Webkit-based browser. If you’re expecting future iterations to go even bolder with their multimedia capabilities, we kindly direct you to some choice quotes by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, care of WSJ: “For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets,” adding later, “there are going to be 100 companies making LCD [screen] tablets… why would we want to be 101? I like building a purpose-built reading device. I think that is where we can make a real contribution.”
We had a chance to play with the device for a short while during a meeting with the company, and we can report that the Kindle is still very much the reading device you know and love (or hate, depending on your preferences). The build quality and materials used did seem slightly more polished than the previous version, and we really liked the new, more subtle rocker. We can also attest to screen refreshes and overall navigation feeling noticeably more responsive and snappy compared with the previous generation. Amazon was showing off a jacket accessory which will be made available at launch that includes a small, pull-out light for late-night reading sessions. We’re sure it will please a lot of folks eager to keep their partners undisturbed while they tear through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We’ll have a full review as soon as we can get our hands on the device, but for now, check out all the details in the video and PR after the break, and feast your eyes on the handful of press shots in the gallery below.
“ANNOUNCING A NEW GENERATION OF KINDLE: THE ALL-NEW KINDLE IS SMALLER, LIGHTER, AND FASTER, WITH 50 PERCENT BETTER CONTRAST
Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery and massive selection of content-now in a 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter design, with 50 percent better contrast, 20 percent faster page turns, up to one month of battery life, double the storage, and more-only $189, and still with free 3G wireless
Amazon also introduces new Kindle family member: Kindle Wi-Fi-only $139
SEATTLE-July 29, 2010-(NASDAQ: AMZN)-Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the #1 bestselling item on Amazon.com for two years running. It’s also the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com. Today, Amazon.com 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 at http://www.amazon.com/kindle3G and http://www.amazon.com/kindleWi-Fi, and will ship to customers in over 140 countries and 30 territories beginning August 27.
Kindle offers the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 630,000 books, including New Releases and 109 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 510,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 80 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle. Kindle lets you buy your books once and read them everywhere-on Kindle, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, and Android-based devices. Amazon’s Whispersync technology syncs your place across devices, so you can pick up where you left off. With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books you purchase from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in your Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.
More than 235,000 books have been added to the Kindle Store in just the last six months, including New York Times Best Sellers “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and “The Passage.” The Kindle Store also recently added 20 contemporary classics from the Wylie Agency’s new “Odyssey Editions” imprint that are available for the first time as e-books and exclusively in the Kindle Store, including John Updike’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit series, Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead,” Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” and Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”
“Kindle is the best-selling product on Amazon for two years running. We lowered the price to $189 and sales growth tripled. Now, we are excited to introduce a new generation Kindle that is smaller, lighter, and faster, with 50 percent better contrast. Readers are going to do a double take when they see Kindle’s bright new screen and feel how remarkably light the smaller 8.7 ounce design feels in one hand,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder & CEO. “If you don’t need the convenience of 3G wireless, we have an incredible new price point-$139 for Kindle Wi-Fi. Kindle Wi-Fi has all the same features, same bookstore, same high-contrast electronic paper display, and it’s even a tiny bit lighter at 8.5 ounces. At this price point, many people are going to buy multiple units for the home and family.”
All New, High-Contrast E-Ink Screen, Read in Bright Sunlight: The new Kindle uses Amazon’s all-new electronic ink display with 50 percent better contrast for the clearest text and sharpest images. No other e-reader has this screen or this level of contrast. Unlike LCD screens, Kindle’s paper-like display looks and reads like real paper, with no glare, even in bright sunlight.
New Proprietary Screen Technology-Faster Page Turns, New and Improved Fonts: Kindle’s all-new, high-contrast electronic ink display is further optimized with Amazon’s proprietary waveform and font technology to make pages turn faster and fonts sharper. Waveform is a series of electronic pulses that move black and white electronic ink particles to achieve a final gray level for an image or text. Amazon tuned the new Kindle’s waveform and controller mechanism to make page turning 20 percent faster. In addition, this waveform tuning combined with new hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting make words and letters more crisp, clear, and natural-looking. Font hints are instructions, written as code, that control points on a font character’s line and improve legibility at small font sizes where few pixels are available. Hinting is a mix of aesthetic judgments and complicated technical strategies. Amazon designed its proprietary font-hinting to optimize specifically for the special characteristics of electronic ink.
New Sleek Design, Lighter Than a Paperback: The new Kindle has a 21 percent smaller body while still keeping the same 6-inch-size reading area. At only 8.7 ounces, the new Kindle is 15 percent lighter and still 1/3 of an inch thin, making it lighter than a paperback and thinner than a magazine. With Kindle you can read comfortably and naturally with just one hand for hours. The new Kindle Wi-Fi is even lighter at just 8.5 ounces.
Double the Storage, Holds 3,500 Books: The new Kindle has double the storage so you can carry up to 3,500 books.
Up To One Month of Battery Life: The new Kindle has up to one month of battery life with wireless off. Keep wireless on and your Kindle will have battery life of up to 10 days.
Free 3G Wireless: Kindle offers free 3G wireless, which means no annual contracts and no monthly fees. Global Wireless Coverage: Kindle is the only e-reader that lets you travel the globe and still get books in under 60 seconds with wireless coverage in over 100 countries and territories.
New Built-In Wi-Fi: In addition to free 3G wireless, Kindle now has built-in Wi-Fi support. Kindle owners will now be able to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots at home or on the road. Readers who don’t need the convenience of free 3G wireless can purchase the new Kindle Wi-Fi for only $139 and download content over Wi-Fi. Amazon is offering free Wi-Fi access at AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S. for shopping and downloading Kindle content-no AT&T registration, sign-in, or password required.
Quieter Page Turn Buttons: Quieter page turns means you can read all night without disturbing your partner.
Share Meaningful Passages: Share meaningful passages with friends and family with built-in Twitter and Facebook integration.
Simple to Use: Kindle is ready to use right out of the box – no setup, no software to install, no computer required.
Books in 60 Seconds: With fast, free wireless delivery, you can start reading books on Kindle in less than 60 seconds.
Massive Selection: The Kindle Store has over 630,000 books, including 109 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers, plus audiobooks, periodicals and blogs.
Free, Out-of-Copyright Books: Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books such as “Pride and Prejudice” are available to read on Kindle.
Low Book Prices: Over 510,000 of the 630,000 books in the Kindle Store are $9.99 or less, including 80 New York Times Best Sellers.
Free Book Samples: First chapters of Kindle books are available to download and read for free before you decide to buy.
Read Everywhere with Whispersync: Kindle books can be read on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and Android-based devices. Amazon’s Whispersync technology syncs your place across devices, so you can pick up where you left off.
Worry-Free Archive: Books purchased from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in your Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.
Improved PDF Reader: The new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs.
New WebKit-based Browser (experimental): The new Kindle uses a new web browser based on the industry-leading open source Web browser engine, WebKit. The updated browser is faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new “article mode” feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text- based content for easier reading. Web browsing with Kindle over 3G or Wi-Fi is free.
New Voice Guide: With Text-to-Speech, Kindle can read out loud to you. New Text-to-Speech enabled menus allow customers to navigate Kindle without having to read menu options. In addition to listening to books aloud, users now have the option of listening to content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options.
New Lighted Leather Cover: The all-new Kindle cover features an integrated, retractable reading light that lets you read comfortably anytime, anywhere. The light is a permanent part of the cover, so it’s always with you, and hides away into the cover when not in use. The high-quality LED light illuminates Kindle’s entire paper-like display, adding brightness without adding glare. Amazon’s patent-pending hinge system secures Kindle in place and conducts electricity from Kindle’s battery to the reading light, eliminating the need for batteries. The conductive hinges are gold-plated to ensure a reliable electrical connection. Gold is used because of its ability to make good electrical contact even with low force and for its corrosion resistance. The Kindle cover is sold separately.
Customers can discover full details and pre-order the new Kindle and Kindle Wi-Fi starting today at http://www.amazon.com/kindle3G and http://www.amazon.com/kindleWi-Fi. For new high-resolution images of the new generation Kindle, visit www.amazon.com/pr/kindle/images.”