Amazon launches new Kindles and Kindle Fire

Written by Clive Webster

September 29, 2011 | 14:18

Tags: #3g #cost #ebook #ebook-reader #ereader #kindle #price #release-date #touchscreen #wi-fi

Companies: #amazon

Amazon launched two new Kindle eReaders and the Kindle Fire Tablet yesterday. Here are the summaries of the three main devices announced.

There’s new basic Kindle eReader that’s set to cost £89 (or, weirdly, £79) for the ad-supported version. Ars Technica reports that despite the low price, ‘the device feels solid and robust.’ The new Kindle is based around a 6in e-Ink screen and weighs only 170g, but has ditched the keyboard of the current model in favour of a D-Pad and on-screen keyboard.

The physical page turn buttons have also moved to the sides of the device, rather than the large buttons on the bezel. This is because the current buttons are too easy to press accidentally, as Ars says, ‘the new hardware buttons are unobtrusive and might actually be a bit difficult to spot until you're used to the device

The new Kindle is available for pre-order now on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be released on 12 October.

Kindle Touch
Amazon also revealed a touchscreen version of the new Kindle, with infrared sensing rather than the capacitive screen of the iPad or the resistive screens of rubbish touchscreen from ten years ago. Set to cost £99 for the ad-supported version or £139 without ads (there’s no UK price or release date as yet), this 6in device weighs 213g. It’s said to be ‘8 per cent lighter [than the current Kindle, and] 11 per cent smaller.

The 3G version is set to cost either $149 or $189, depending on ad support.

Kindle Fire
Possibly the most intriguing new Kindle is the Kindle Fire, an Android tablet based around a 7in, full-colour touchscreen. The Android Silk OS has allowed Amazon to closely link the Kindle Fire to Amazon’s cloud service, meaning that the device can offload complex tasks such as rendering complex web pages to an Amazon cloud server, and receive a more manageable stream of data back. The cloud servers can also cache popular content, again speeding up the browsing experience.

It’s this ‘split’ architecture that has likely allowed Amazon to include a dual-core processor and reasonably large touchscreen in a device that’s set to cost $199. The CPU really doesn’t have to be all that powerful or advanced if it can rely on servers to do a lot of the grunt work.

Ars Technica got to have a look at the Kindle Fire and said, ‘The screen itself looks very good, and the demos that Amazon representatives performed seemed to indicate it was quite responsive to touches.

Interested by any of the new devices? Let us know which ones and why in the forum.
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