Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Kindles! Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch

Amazon just announced the latest generation of Kindle devices: The new Kindle, the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire! As a Kindle geek, I will be ordering these to get a hands on view when they come out, but for now these are looking like some great new devices! Which one suits you, will depend on your reading style and what you want out of the device.

Check out all of the new devices and a preview of them after the break!

The Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is the new flagship of the Kindle fleet, which replaces the Kindle 3G (which has been redubbed the Kindle Keyboard 3G). It's a 7" android tablet under a pound with a completely custom Amazon interface. We know that it's running android 2.3 and that Amazon approved apps like Angry Birds will run on the device. We also know that at $199, it's a full $50 less than the NOOK color and $300 less than you're basic iPad.

For me, the killer feature for the Kindle has always been the free global 3G and that's a feature that is understandably missing from the Kindle Fire. It's meant to consume media and act as an Internet tablet (email will be on there too), which means that this is going to be great for people who are usually within range of WiFi. However for people who are highly mobile there is no 3G connection, free or paid, which might be a deal breaker.

The Kindle Touch

The Kindle Touch comes in two varieties and is the true heir to the Kindle 3 throne. The last generation of Kindle was a keyboard only affair, which left a lot of people out and now Amazon is aiming to fix that. This is a fully touch screen device which is less than half a pound and has the great E-ink display that I've raved about in the Kindle Keyboard 3G. It will come with or without free global 3G and with or without advertisements. In total, you'll have four prices for this device: $99 (no 3G, with ads), $139 (no 3G, no ads), $149 (3G, with ads), and $189 (3G, no ads). From my perspective, I think the sweet spot on this device is the $149 3G device: First, the advertisements from what I've heard are tasteful and local, Secondly, The global 3G service is awesome, but unlike the Kindle Keybord 3G the wireless connection will only be able to access the Kindle Store and Wikipedia. You'll still be able to browse the web over Wi-Fi, but if you want full global 3G, the Kindle Keyboard 3G is the way to go now( That version can be had for $139 with special offers or $189 without).

One of the new features I'm also looking forward to trying out is the "X-Ray" feature, which allows you to look up events or phrases in the books you're reading. When you download the book, it sounds like Amazon also downloads wikipedia articles based on the what is happening in the story: If you're reading a book and Blackbeard the pirate is involved, you'll be able to (theoretically) read up on Blackbeard just by tapping on his name.

The New Kindle

The final device Amazon announced today was a new basic Kindle. It has the same screen, is the smallest of the Kindles, and only comes in a WiFi flavor. However, if you opt for the version with special offers, you're looking at a killer stocking stuffer: $79 with ads or $109 without. For me, the extra $70 for the touch screen and free 3G seems like the better way to go, but if you're looking for an honest and basic eReader, this one comes in $50 under the Nook Simple and currently the cheapest on the market of the major players.

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