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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  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    If there's a failure on their end then the browser defaults to normal operation and will likely behave just like the regular Android browser.

    As far as whether Amazon will data mine your browsing information, they stated that this data will be anonymized and will be discarded after a certain amount of time. It's unclear just how true the anonymity part of that statement is, it would only make sense that they would consider your browsing history in the targeted advertisements they display when you're on one of their sites or in their e-mails and recommendations. However, the impression I get is that they recognize that browsing is a private matter. Where they want to get more information is in your purchases, so by providing a streamlined environment in which to consume digital media (the Fire) they can do a better job of targeting your interests. More sales of their media leads to better data for their ads.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    Why compare it to 8.9" Samsung tablet, when there is 7"? Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Until recently the 7" was a Froyo driven device with an anemic processor. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus that was recently announced would make a much more suitable comparison, and we'll know more once we get them in house. Reply
  • Octavean - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    Nice turn of a phrase there at the end. Very nice indeed.

    Personally, I would like a larger 9" to 10" color screen version with free 3G for life at about ~$250 to ~$300 USD. I'd be all over that especially if it had a camera. The current lineup is nice though.

    Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Thanks!

    I think free 3G for life on a media tablet is out of the question. The reason that they get away with it on their readers is that simple text is no big risk, but movies and music would definitely pose a threat.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    "while providing specifications that match devices more than twice it's price. "

    Hmm. If by "match" you mean
    - no GPS
    - no bluetooth
    - no camera
    - (apparently) no mic, or video out, or printing, or external keyboard, or any of the other sensors (orientation, compass, etc) in an iPad
    - low-end GPU
    - no obvious plan to upgrade the OS
    etc etc

    Look, it's a nice device for what it does. And if it does everything a person wants, great.
    But don't pretend it's something it's not.
    Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Tablets are a device market that is currently mostly falling between three stools. They can be considered communications devices, media consumption devices and productivity devices, with some overlap amongst the categories (e-mail is great to consume on a tablet, but not necessarily great to produce/communicate). Now, no one is arguing that the iPad hasn't done the best job of hitting on all three categories. So, no need to jump to its defense.
    The Fire isn't trying to land firmly on just one stool, media consumption. They are applying the 80/20 rule, or in this case the 80/33 rule. I think it's safe to say that 80% of what consumers do with their tablets (iPads, inclusive) falls in the media consumption realm. By not trying to compete for the other two stools they can provide a better experience for what people are actually doing with their tablets.
    Having reframe the question, lets look at your complaints.
    -The lack of Bluetooth and GPS are lamentable but minor. BT is particularly so since it limits users to wired headphones only. GPS on the other hand is forgettable, navigation by tablet was a practice ended before Magellan.
    -Tablet cameras are almost entirely awful experiences (iPad, inclusive), and is not missed by anyone that has watched someone attempt to take a picture with one.
    -The lack of mic makes sense given this is not intended as a communications device, video out is nice but a laughable use for a tablet (See Tablet cameras, above), printing from a tablet seems anachronistic at best, external keyboard use would be de rigueur on a productivity device, which this is not, an orientation sensor would seem a questionable deletion, but a compass falls along the same lines as the GPS (see Magellan above).
    -The PowerVR SGX540 is hardly low-end, especially in the OMAP 4430 as it is clocked above prior variants. It is among the better GPUs appearing in tablets today and a cursory reading of our phone reviews would demonstrate this,.
    -The OS issue is one of concern to anyone looking for a tablet that does at least a little of a lot of things. Certainly no one likes buying a tablet only to have a feature show up on a lesser specced phone,

    The iPad might be the best selling tablet on the market, it may even be the best tablet on the market, but it is not the market. Our readers know there are countless numbers of tablets out now and coming. They read our site to explore what is available in the whole market, not just one Store. As such they know that there are several tablets priced at $400 and up whose processors, displays, features and industrial design are comparable to the Fire.

    We welcome all comments. We just hope everyone will keep an open mind. Closed-mindedness helps no one.
    Reply
  • nofumble62 - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    I have never pre-ordered anything new, but for $200, I didn't hesitate a second. I am looking forward to get rid of all the paper magazine, and now be able to read in bed. My kids has the Kindle, and I couldn't borrow from them. So I know this is a good deal the moment I saw it. I also a fan of Amazon since I bought at least 10 items a year from them. So this is a really sweat deal.

    Reply
  • ol1bit - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    Mine is pre-ordered. Man I Love Amazon. I make fun of Apple Fan's, but I guess Amazon is turning me into an Amazon loyalist!

    I've had prime for 2 years, and love it, order everything though them. Now a kick ars tablet for what I want, cheap and fast. I wish it had an external sd slot though.

    But $199, and free 2 day shipping. :-) I can live with that. I already have my MP3s on the Amazon cloud.

    With this maybe I can just dump my Verizion Droid smart phone. and go back to my Free work phone!
    Reply
  • BeowulfX - Friday, September 30, 2011 - link

    Still no support for SDHC or microSD?

    At 8GB of internal storage...by today's standards, that aint much...and without an option to use microSD or SDHC...HD movies are going to gobble up this 8GB in no time...

    Too bad...oh well, may be next time?
    Reply

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