Kindle Touch and New Kindle

No one announces just one product at an event these days, and Amazon is no different. Along with the Kindle Fire, Amazon saw fit to refresh their line of e-readers. E-reader enthusiasts, you know who you are, will recognize the technology behind the new Kindle Touch from the likes of the new Nook and the Kobo. The IR sensor laden e-ink display allows touch inputs to be received and elicit page turns and other UI interactions. Now devoid of many of its buttons, including the full QWERTY keyboard of its predecessors, the Kindle Touch is smaller than the Kindle 3 and comes at a new price point, $99. For that you get the WiFi model which promises faster page refreshes and so on. Free global wireless internet for life is the promise of the 3G variant, which at just a $50 premium makes it a terribly good bargain. 

 

Also joining the keyboardless clan is the new Kindle. This device shares the new e-ink panel with the Touch, but makes do with a hand full of navigation buttons in lieu of the touch screen. The device is significantly lighter and smaller than its predecessor, no doubt owing much to the loss of the keyboard, and brings the e-reader market to a new price target at just $79. The new Kindle will be offered in WiFi only guise, so bibiliphilic globetrotters will have to make do with the Kindle Touch 3G. Amazon also saw fit to unite its AmazonLocal deals service with the Special Offers that graced the last generation of Kindles. The new ads will be displayed as screensavers on the entire e-ink line and are promised to maintain a certain aesthetic so that a buyer would hardly notice that it's not just a pretty screensaver. 

Wrap-up

Leading up to the announcement, I expected that Amazon would leverage its media offerings to make a tablet that could compete with Apple on content. Beyond that I had no idea what would be in store. It comes as little suprise though that Amazon saw fit to completely obfuscate the Android platform beneath a UI that steers the argument decidedly in favor of the tablet as media consumptive device. Based on these first looks, the UI is elegant and friendly, and the hardware is sufficient enough to provide a good media experience. And at $199, no other tablet offers as compelling a combination of services, content and value. We can't wait to get our hands on the Kindle Fire and discover whether Amazon has set the tablet market ablaze, or simply joined the other kindling. 

The New Kindle Family
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  • Choppedliver - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I'm sure it does, since Plants vs Zombies is clearly displayed at the bottom. Much more intensive than angry birds.

    And amazon has their own android app store.

    Anyone who thinks this is going to be purely an e-reader/movie watching device with all that hardware inside is delusional.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    It's gonna be another Nook option to those that don't mind a little hacking. Though with full featured (and larger) tablets approaching $300 (Archos, sales, etc.), the market for this isn't gonna last long. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    No need, it has the Amazon Appstore.

    Most high profile apps are available for the same price. And you can't beat those free apps (Cut The Rope is free today).

    Of course, the XDA crowd will root it and open up its functionality, but I think it will be a surprisingly functional $200 tablet out of the gate.
    Reply
  • gevorg - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    The Kindle Touch is awesome! I would still prefer iPad for entertainment, but will use the Kindle as a dedicated reading device that doesn't kill the eyes. Kindle Touch + iPad FTW. Reply
  • steven75 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I'm thinking that's a good combo. Reply
  • kingbee1333 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Already preordered, tied in to amazon ecosystem via thier android app store, kindle books and videos, seems like a nobrainer at this price. 3g conectivity seems to be an oversight, but at the price and no contracts with the nice display and soild soc seems like a nobrainer for me. It's going ot be much less enticing for anyone already invested into apples ecosystem apps etc.

    Seems like amazon is the first company to treat the hardware as a comodity of thier content. Where as other tablet makers are looking to profit from the hardware, and apple is looking to profit from hardware and content. Amazon was brillaint to make thier own app store. Google can't be happy with this.
    Reply
  • jecs - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    I am gladly surprised because I read on other site this device has an IPS matrix and all the features for $199. I don't need a tablet really but now I am glad this option is available. And I really hope this device to become a huge success to bring other options down in price.

    Obviously I want to read a good review first and even hold it in my hands and use it, but it looks like the smartest move on the tablet market since the iPad was introduced.

    It is even more simplistic in appearance than the iPad, but that I don't feel it resembles the Apple line. It is not an iPad COPY, it is even simpler, more feature and market oriented and that is just $199?
    Reply
  • munsie - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    The $200 price point sounds great, but is that with or without the special offers? Amazon clearly breaks out the price difference on the other models ($30), but the option is missing for the Fire. So does that mean that it only comes with the special offers or it only comes without? If it's without, it a much more attractive device. But I suspect it's with, considering how close it is in price to the other less capable models.

    And as far as it being an iPad killer, I think it's too early to make claims like this. The PlayBook, which it's apparently based on, hasn't been killing the iPad. Granted, it's more expensive, but I suspect that's because RIM can't afford to subsidize it like Amazon can. Also, the iPad has a larger display. If the 7" tablet market takes off, Apple could decide to make a smaller iPad at a cheaper price.

    One more thing -- when the first iPod touch came out in 2007, I remember $400 for the 16GB model. Today, the touch starts out at $229 and the $400 model has 64GB. The iPhone also got significantly cheaper (at least for the consumer) over the same period. I don't see why Apple wouldn't be able to make the iPad cheaper as well over time, especially if they figure out a way to subsidize some of the cost with either iTunes sales or with the carriers.
    Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Special Offers relies on the eink screensaver to display ads as unobtrusively as possible. Since the eink screens don't use power except on page turns, there's no battery hit. With no eink in the Fire, it's likely it has no Special Offers. As far as Apple trying to compete on price, Apple makes money on every single thing it sells, they prefer not to subsidize because the risk of failure is too high. Instead their content sales just add to profits. More likely is a model where they begin selling old models at discounted rates as component costs come down, while selling a newer model at the original price. This may drive iPod Touch prices down though, since 7" makes a much more compelling media experience than 3.5".
    Thanks for the comments, keep'em coming!
    Reply
  • jecs - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Great point for the iPod Touch Vs Kindle price/use.

    I already have an iPod Touch 2G and I have no plans/need to update unless it dies. I am using it mostly for music. But now the Kindle with an 7' IPS screen is the right size for me at a lower price than the iPod Touch. It is not a direct replace for the Touch for me but is a better device for internet browsing and movies.

    I don't know how great gaming will be on the Kindle as Amazon doesn't promote the graphic processor(?) but either I don't think they expect this to be a real gaming tablet.
    Reply

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