Amazon is winning the hearts and minds of readers all over again with the company's newest Kindle products. From the too-good-to-be-true sounding Kindle Fire to the Kindle Touch and even a version for the reader who wants a no-frills electronic device, Amazon is rolling out their new breed of Kindles just in time for the holidays. However, we were certainly not expecting more than four different types of Kindle e-readers to hit the stores for the holiday rush. Here’s everything you need to know before you order a device for yourself or a loved one:
Just The Basics: For the booklover who wants a no-frills e-reading experience, the newly re-priced Kindle, priced at $79, is sure to fit the bill. The device has been scaled down from the previous model. Amazon proudly touts the fact that the e-reader now weighs less than 6 ounces and fits in your pocket. It also has built in Wi-Fi to allow for quick and easy e-book downloading. Like the Kindles that came before this model, the new Kindle allows you to adjust the text size, load personal documents, pdfs, and more. The Kindle has a month-long battery life and automatically backs up your e-library on the Amazon Whispersynch cloud network for free, so you never need to worry about losing your e-books.
If this is the device for you, it is in stock and ready to ship today.
Something Extra: The Kindle Touch says it all in the name; this is a sleeker, button-free version of the e-reader that is now selling for a scant $99. The re-designed model is 8% lighter and 11% smaller than the previous Kindle. The Kindle Touch also has built in Wi-Fi access and introduces two new elements to the reading experience, reports Publishers' Weekly. There's the “X-ray feature” that we describe in-depth below, and an all-new infra-red touch display. Along with the new infra-red display comes re-configured tap zones that will make turning pages even easier and allow reads to switch hands during reading. The Kindle Touch also has 2 months of battery life and 4 GB of memory that can hold up to 3,000 books.
The Kindle Touch 3G frees readers from the burden of searching for Wi-Fi hotspots. Although this model is 7.8 ounces, rather than the Kindle Touch’s 7.5 ounces, it also plays audio books, mp3s and has text-to-speech capability. This version is available for $149.
Both of these models will be released on November 21, and we suggest that if this is the right e-reader for you or a loved one, you place your pre-order now.
Keeping It Classic: If you want many of the same benefits as a Kindle Touch or Kindle Touch 3G but are not interested in having a device without buttons, the Kindle Keyboard or Kindle Keyboard 3G may be right for you. This device is one ounce heavier than the Kindle Touch or Touch 3G, at 8.5 or 8.7 ounces, depending on whether you opt for a Wi-Fi connection or 3G connection. The least expensive price for a Kindle Keyboard is available for $99 and the Kindle Touch 3G can cost you as little as $139.
Both of these models are in stock and ready to ship.
Bringing Out The Big Guns: The Kindle Fire is the true stunner in the new line-up of Amazon e-readers. The Kindle Fire is a touch screen device with a vibrant color display. It gives readers access to e-books and magazines, streaming television and music, free online storage and more. Additionally the Kindle Fire introduces Amazon Silk, a new web browser that works extremely quickly because it functions on both the Kindle Fire and the Amazon Web Service cloud.
Priced at a modest $199, the Kindle Fire is only 14.6 ounces, easy to hold in one hand, and extremely durable. Amazon says the device is “chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic.” This device is certainly going to give the iPad a run for its money.
If the Kindle Fire is right for you or your loved one, it will become available on November 15 but we strongly suggest you place your pre-order now.
But Can You Browse The Internet? Yes, the Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard all include what Amazon calls "experimental web browsing" capabilities.
What Is The "X-Ray Feature"? It allows readers to access ”the bones of the book” said Amazon Founder and Chief CEO Jeff Benzos, according to Publishers Weekly’s liveblogging of the Amazon press event. Essentially the feature is a "side-file" that will come along with each book, which includes the ability to look up any historical figures or events that are mentioned on the page. The information is provided from Wikipedia and Shelfari. The file is Amazon’s attempt to have “pre-calculated all of the interesting phrases” that readers may want more information about while they are reading — making the experience more seamless than ever. This new aspect of the e-reading experience is available on the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire.
What Does "With Special Offers" Mean? It is important to note that along with these new devices Amazon is rolling out a two-tiered pricing system for three of this season’s Kindles. For the Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard, readers can opt to pay for device that comes “With Special Offers”. This means that advertisements, such as “$10 for $20 Amazon.com gift card”, will play on the device’s screensaver and run along the bottom of the homepage. However, Amazon is adamant that these offers will not interrupt the reading experience. Additionally, by setting your personal Kindle Screensaver Preferences, you can influence which types of ads run on your device. However, if you would like to keep their reading experience advertisement-free, each of these device scan be purchased for approximately thirty dollars more “Without Special Offers”.
We want to know, is one of these Kindles going to be on your holiday wishlist?