It seems like it’s been a long wait, but Amazon has finally released the new, upgraded and improved Kindle e-book reader. Dubbed the third generation Kindle by Amazon, there are a number of improvements.
The latest enhancements on display in the Kindle 3 seem likely to appeal to most e-book reader fans. It keeps the same 6″ e-ink technology screen, but the display’s contrast has been improved by 50%, which should make reading even better. The speed of page turns, already good for the Kindle 2.0, has been made 20% quicker.
The outside dimensions of the reader are reduced by 21% and the weight is just 8.7 ozs – a 15% reduction. Battery life with the Wi-Fi off is now a month, and even with Wi-Fi turned on a ten day life is expected. Memory capacity has been increased by a factor of 2 to 4 GB, sufficient for around about 3,500 books. So the new Kindle is smaller, lighter, easier to read, has a longer battery life and allows users to carry a small personal library with them wherever they go. What more could you wish for in a mobile electronic device?
For many, a color screen might have been one item on their wish list. However, whilst Amazon have been working on a color e-ink technology display, it simply isn’t ready for commercial release at this time. Perhaps this might be incorporated in the next Kindle 4 release. There is no SD slot available for memory expansion – a feature which some users may have hoped for. Nevertheless, considering that the memory capacity is now at 4GB, most people won’t suffer too much as a consequence of this.
In addition to the various upgrades, Amazon have adjusted the price downwards and introduced a new Wi-Fi only model for those who don’t anticipate the need for a 3G connection. Just $ 139 will get you the new entry level Wi-Fi only model, with the 3G plus Wi-Fi version on sale at $ 189. The new Kindle 3 now comes in graphite, the same as the new DX model, as well as the original white.
Amazon has also opened a dedicated UK Kindle store on their British website. UK customers will no longer need to get their Kindles shipped from the States. To begin with the UK Kindle store will have 400,000 Kindle books available. It seems reasonable to suppose that Amazon may consider opening other dedicated Kindle stores for its other “local” websites in France, Germany etc. in the future.
Sales of the Kindle 3 are high. Prospective customers face a wait of around about 4 weeks before their readers are shipped at the moment. It does begin to look as if reports of the Kindle’s demise, as a result of the launch of Apple’s iPad, were somewhat premature. The latest upgrades, the reduced prices and the fact that there is no monthly connection charge, will appeal to many potential customers. It looks as though the launch of the third generation Kindle may serve as a timely reminder of just how influential Amazon are, and will continue to be, in the world of e-books and digital publishing in general.