New Kindle Leaves Rivals Farther Back

When Apple launched the iPad, many people said that it would be the demise of the e-reader. After all, the iPad has a color touch screen capable of multimedia compared to the monochrome e-ink Kindle which had no support for multimedia.

This week however, Amazon revealed more details on its new Kindle. From the NY Times:

“This week, Amazon unveiled what everyone (except Amazon) is calling the Kindle 3. You might call it Amazon’s iPad response. The Kindle 3 is ingeniously designed to be everything the iPad will never be: small, light and inexpensive.

The smallness comes in the form of a 21 percent reduction in the dimensions from the previous Kindle. The new one measures 7.5 by 4.8 by 0.3 inches, yet the screen has the same six-inch diagonal measurements as always. Amazon’s designers did what they should have done a long time ago: they shaved away a lot of that empty beige (or now dark gray) plastic margin.

Now, the Kindle is almost ridiculously lightweight; at 8.5 ounces, it’s a third the weight of the iPad. That’s a big deal for a machine that you want to hold in your hands for hours.

Then there is the $140 price. That’s for the model with Wi-Fi — a feature new to the Kindle that plays catch-up to theBarnes & Noble Nook. A Kindle model that can also get online using the cellular network, as earlier models do, costs $50 more. But the main thing you do with the wireless feature is download new books, so Wi-Fi is probably plenty for most people.

That $140 is quite a tumble from the Kindle’s original $400 price, and a tiny sliver of what you would pay for an iPad ($500 and way, way up).

Yes, of course, it’s a little silly to compare the Kindle with the iPad, a full-blown computer with infinitely greater powers. Although it’s worth pointing out, just in case you were indeed considering the iPad primarily for its e-book features, that the Kindle’s catalog of 630,000 current books is 10 times the size of Apple’s.

No, the Kindle’s real competition is the gaggle of extremely similar, rival e-book readers, all of which use the same E Ink screen technology.”

Read more on Amazon’s new Kindle and its competition at: New York Times – New Kindle Leaves Rivals Farther Behind


  1. I’m wondering, though, about the long-term viability of readers like the Nook and Kindle when they continue to develop tools for reading conventional books in digital-but-otherwise conventional ways — page by page. I downloaded Inkling on my IPad yesterday, and while they have only a few sample books, the interactivity, personalization, enabling of “social reading” and graphics that go far beyond “page”. I have to wonder if this is just a taste of some pretty rapid changes in how we engage “books” in digital devices. -Jane

  2. I think that these devices aim for the traditional book reader who does not engage in the social web. More importantly, though, they are helping the growth of the specific ebook formats and online marketplaces of Amazon and Barnes and Noble with tight integration and possibly vendor lock-in. That means that whether or not they die, the companies can continue to profit from their well established formats and marketplaces rather than high tech devices that are usually sold at or a little above cost. We can even see these devices being absorbed in laptops, computers, mobile devices, and even phones through the use of apps. These apps are created and distributed for free with the ability to purchase from the respective etailer’s store. I also believe that when the current social generation affects the market, we will see Amazon et all update their devices and apps accordingly.

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