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In a (not at all) shocking turn of events, Amazon has released two new Kindles! When the Kindle 2 went out of stock earlier in the week, everyone raised an eyebrow. In fact, I was fully intending to lay out some predictions on what we might see in a new Kindle! Guess Amazon beat me to it!
But what you really want to know is about the new Kindles. Apparently they’re slightly smaller, with a better eInk screen (I’m assuming the same one the DX now sports). Plus it comes in graphite! Oh, and the real kicker: the famous original 3G flavor is still $189, plus there’s now a Kindle wifi for $139! B&N is no doubt quite angry, since yet again Amazon is undercutting the nook by $10!

Seriously, though, this looks pretty amazing. First of all, a Kindle for $139!!! That’s just crazy! Plus the 3G version gets better specs at the same price, so either one is a great choice. No word on whether Target will be carrying the new models. Engadget is also reporting that the new Kindle will have a webkit browser, though I still maintain browsing on an eInk device is roughly .000005% better than browsing the web on my old Palm Tungsten C. In other words, great in a pinch but not something you’re going to run to use every day.

I’ve been hanging onto my Kindle 1 since I had no compelling reason to replace it. Now, though, I will definitely be picking up a Kindle Wifi! Most of my book buying happens at home, and when I’m not actively downloading new books I turn the wireless off anyhow. Plus, at $139 I can get one for myself, my fiancee, and my mother! Larry and Dan have already said they’re planning on grabbing the wifi version as well. I think that may end up being a huge breakout hit, since at $139 it makes an EXCELLENT companion device to an iPad or smartphone running Kindle software.

Engadget has a great hands-on video of the new kindles, plus we’ve got the full press release below. Then let us know in the comments if you’re going for the wifi or the 3G version!

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 www.amazon.com/kindle3G and 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 www.amazon.com/kindle3G and www.amazon.com/kindleWi-Fi. For new high-resolution images of the new generation Kindle, visit www.amazon.com/pr/kindle/images.


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