NEW KINDLE LINKS ARE IN PLACE (U.S./Int'l, except UK)
Free 3G/WiFi - $189
(White and Graphite)
and WiFi-only - $139 (Graphite)
(UK-only: Free 3G/Wifi - £149
and WiFi Only - £109)
See also the later Unsung Features of the new Kindles.
Engadget, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many others announced news from a conference with Bezos the other day. Each news story has its own particulars from the story and I'll update this later with more details but give links for reading right now. Not due until August 27 but pre-orders are being taken, at the Kindle pages, some say, starting late tonight, others say starting tomorrow.
There'll be two new Kindles announced tomorrow, both smaller and slimmer. The WiFi only will be $139 and the replacement for Kindle 2 will be $189. They'll come in both Graphite and White.
Also check out the VIDEO on Engadget's page as well (and as usual there are many other pictures).
That's Engadget's header photo at the left:
Notice the SYM key is used for NUMBERS now. The symbols box will stay open while we type.
There's also an invisible combo-key method. See Numbers below.
Amazon opens UK store! on Aug. 27
' The new handheld -- slated to be released on August 27th -- is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous model, has a 20 percent faster refresh rate on its E Ink (yep, still E Ink) screen, and will now come in two colors (graphite, like its big brother the DX, and the original white). In addition to the color changes, there will be two radio configurations available: a $139 WiFi only version, and a $189 WiFi/3G version (utilizing AT&T's network, just like the last model). The screen will remain the same 6-inch size as the last two Kindles, though the company claims page turns are faster and contrast is improved. The internal storage on the device has been cranked to 4GB, and the battery life is now rated at a month with no wireless, and 10 days with wireless switched on.
The company also announced plans for a UK-localized version at £109 and £149, respectively, as well as a UK e-book store. '
Here's WSJ's story.
From same Engadget story linked above:
' The keyboard and five-way controls have been streamlined and altered slightly. The rocker is now more compact and flush with the device, and the side buttons have been modified in length to emphasize the forward paddles, while the back buttons have been downsized.
Software wise, there are some interesting new features, the most notable being the inclusion of an "experimental" Webkit-based browser.
[xabbott explains in Comments area that the older experimental browser used another methodology and that "Webkit on the other hand is what the iPhone, iPad, WebOS, Android, and a few other mobile/desktop browsers use. It's open source as well."
The somewhat faster speed will be very welcome. Will Amazon continue to offer 3G web browsing free if so? Or might there be relatively inexpensive tiered plans. They'll dominate the market if they can afford to continue to give "free" 3G for lighter, text-mainly use of it. Read further for Bezos's disinterest in adding video and animation capablities at this point.]
If you're expect[ing] future iterations to go even bolder with their multimedia capabilities, we kindly direct you to some choice quotes by Amazon's Jeff Bezos care of WSJ: "For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets," adding later, "there are going to be 100 companies making LCD [screen] tablets... why would we want to be 101? I like building a purpose-built reading device. I think that is where we can make a real contribution."
We had a chance to play with the device for a short while during a meeting with the company, and we can report that the Kindle is still very much the reading device you know and love (or hate, depending on your preferences). The build quality and materials used did seem slightly more polished than the previous version, and we really liked the new, more subtle rocker. We can also attest to screen refreshes and overall navigation feeling noticeably more responsive and snappy compared with the previous generation.
Amazon was showing off a jacket accessory which will be made available at launch that includes a small, pull-out light for late-night reading sessions '
Note that besides the Numbers now being under the SYM key box (which will stay up while we type), that both sides will now have a Next/Previous button (the old K2 did not have 'Prev' on the right hand side) and that the HOME button is back where it was with the K1. I was forever pressing the 'Home' button when wanting 'Prev' because of the DX placement. And that the Menu and Back buttons are now at the bottom again also. I find that less confusing.
UPDATE2 - CNET has a more detailed listing of features
Here is CNet's listing of features:
* 6-inch E-Ink display
* WiFi and 3G ($189), WiFi only ($139)
* 21 percent smaller than previous Kindle
* 15 percent lighter (8.7 ounces)
* Like the new Kindle DX, screen offers 50 percent better contrast
* 20 percent faster page turns, according to Amazon
* 4GB built-in memory [Similar to DX]
* Smaller page-turn buttons that are quieter (clicking noise is nearly silent)
* Up to four weeks of battery life from sealed-in battery (wireless turned off)
* New "experimental" WebKit-based browser (experimental). Amazon says the updated web browser is "faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new 'article mode' feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text-based content for easier reading." [That simplification will be great for Kindle Edition blogs when following links in stories.]
* Expanded text-speech options. New text-to-speech enabled menus allow you to navigate the Kindle without having to read menu options. You can not only listen to books aloud (certain ones, anyway) but content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options. [Great for schools now.]
* Amazon says the new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader, with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs. [No word yet on linked Table of Contents]
* No cover included but Amazon will sell two new covers, one of which has a built-in flip-out light for $59.99.
See what else CNet has to say in its story after a brief time with the new Kindles.
UPDATE2 - Amazon adds details on features - from various pages.
Here are the ones not mentioned at length yet and maybe of interest to the detail-oriented:
' . New Proprietary Screen Technology--Faster Page Turns, New and Improved Fonts:
Kindle's all-new, high-contrast electronic ink display is further optimized with Amazon's proprietary waveform and font technology to make pages turn faster and fonts sharper. Waveform is a series of electronic pulses that move black and white electronic ink particles to achieve a final gray level for an image or text. Amazon tuned the new Kindle's waveform and controller mechanism to make page turning 20 percent faster. In addition, this waveform tuning combined with new hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting make words and letters more crisp, clear, and natural-looking. Font hints are instructions, written as code, that control points on a font character's line and improve legibility at small font sizes where few pixels are available. Hinting is a mix of aesthetic judgments and complicated technical strategies. Amazon designed its proprietary font-hinting to optimize specifically for the special characteristics of electronic ink.
. Up To One Month of Battery Life: The new Kindle has up to one month of battery life with wireless off. Keep wireless on and your Kindle will have battery life of up to 10 days. [The WiFi-Only model has somewhat shorter battery life.]
. Free 3G Wireless: Kindle offers free 3G wireless, which means no annual contracts and no monthly fees.
[I included this because they stress the 'free' and it's part of their marketing which they'll need to stand behind.]
. New Built-in WiFi: [on both models]. Amazon is offering Kindle customers free Wi-Fi access at AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S. for shopping and downloading Kindle content -- no AT&T registration, sign-in, or password required.
[Can AT&T handle dependably all the new Apple and Amazon customers? Will AT&T clamp down on 'Unlimited' as they did with Apple? - Probably not, as there'll be no video-taxing of their broadband by Amazon customers.]
. Low Book Prices: Over 510,000 of the 630,000 books in the Kindle Store are $9.99 or less, including 80 New York Times Best Sellers. [Approximately 20,000 are free.]
. Improved PDF Reader: The new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs. [Search routine will still be the PDF one-at-a-time style, I guess.]
. New WebKit-based Browser (experimental): The new Kindle uses a new web browser based on the industry-leading open source Web browser engine, WebKit.
The updated browser is faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new "article mode" feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text-based content for easier reading. Web browsing with Kindle over 3G or Wi-Fi is free.
. New Voice Guide: With Text-to-Speech, Kindle can read out loud to you. New Text-to-Speech enabled menus allow customers to navigate Kindle without having to read menu options. In addition to listening to books aloud, users now have the option of listening to content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options.
[Best not to have a thousand+ books active if depending on listening to the Home screen content listings. But we can use the first character of a title to go direct to a listing of titles that start with that character.]
. New Lighted Leather Cover: The all-new Kindle cover features an integrated, retractable reading light that lets you read comfortably anytime, anywhere. The light is a permanent part of the cover, so it's always with you, and hides away into the cover when not in use. The high-quality LED light illuminates Kindle's entire paper-like display, adding brightness without adding glare. Amazon's patent-pending hinge system secures Kindle in place and conducts electricity from Kindle's battery to the reading light, eliminating the need for batteries.
[That's quite an amazing feature if it works well.]
The conductive hinges are gold-plated to ensure a reliable electrical connection. Gold is used because of its ability to make good electrical contact even with low force and for its corrosion resistance. The Kindle cover is sold separately. '
UPDATE3 - USER GUIDES ARE AVAILABLE
See User documentation page.
The PDF that you can read right now is at the top, and the .azw file is for your Kindle but can also be read on your Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC and other apps while deciding or waiting for the new Kindle.
UPDATE4 - More info from the product page, not in PR list of features
. Kindle now has three font styles to choose from - our standard Caecilia font, a condensed version of Caecilia, and a sans serif option - so you can change your font style along with the font size.
. Support for New Characters
Kindle can now display Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters in addition to Latin and Greek scripts.
. Precise 5-Way Controller [MORE precise, I imagine.]
Kindle has an easy-to-use 5-way controller, enabling precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words. No on-screen fingerprints.
[That's Jeff Bezos explaining his current aversion to using the Touchscreen technology Amazon bought.
UPDATE5 - HOW ARE NUMBERS TYPED?
I updated a couple of sections above, but it turns out that numbers are now accessible through the SYM key, the selection-box for which will NOW stay up while we're typing, which I imagine is so we can pick several numbers from it.
As mentioned above, the older method of selection (in which the box closed after choosing a character and the screen totally refreshed) would definitely not have worked, so it will now stay up for further character selections until we close it by pressing the Sym key again.
ALSO, we can still type the ALT-key+number combo if we 'know' where the
number keys are within that first row of alpha letters. They'll still
function but they're not labeled so you'll have to guess which alpha letter
has which number. I supposed some will get used to where they are.
The end key is '0' or zero, and '9' is just before, etc.
UPDATE6 - ADDITIONAL INFO
A commenter asked about the DX Graphite possibly having a WiFi component that could be enabled later.
I'd forgotten to blog the "teardown" of the DXG that was printed yesterday. I'll add that info here, for those wondering about WiFi on the new DXG.
Teardown by TechRepublic. On one picture, the caption for the 3G wireless unit is:
' The Kindle DX (Graphite) uses an AnyDATA DTP-600W HSPA mini PCI-E module for wireless connectivity. According to AnyDATA documentation the DTP-600W "operates globally on tri-band UMTS 850/1900/2100 wireless networks as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 networks.
Below the wireless module is a SIM card, which was not present on the original Kindle DX. '
[Updated also] I didn't know what was planned for that SIM card and had not seen anything about a WiFi capability built in for the DX Graphite. However, much can be done with SIM cards and WiFi today. Check out SIMFi, a SIM Card With Built-In Wi-Fi Hotspot that gives an example of what's coming soon, in general.
See commenter PRW's explanation for the SIM card, below:
UPDATE7 - RE GSM WIRELESS AND NOT-ENABLED MICROPHONE
In the comments area, PRW let us know that the K3 User Guide mentions we can also enter numbers by using [probably the Alt-key] and the top row's Q-P as 1-9+0 though they're not labled. That would be harder for me as I can't find them fast even when labeled on the DX, but it's a good alternative.
PRW also explains that "the new models use GSM wireless. Each device in a GSM system requires a unique SIM card to access the cell network, even if only for data."
Also, "Anonymous" found in the manual that the K3 has a microphone (!) and no one seems to have noticed. (I haven't read very far at all either.) He points out that "the manual says: "is not currently enabled but is provided for future use"
LATER HANDS-ON REPORT
See later blog entry on detailed Hands-on report by Washington Post's PC World posting and more photos.
UPDATE8 - SEVERAL NEW FEATURES FOUND IN THE MANUAL
These include new features for PDFs, Web-browser, and other items, and I am putting them into a new blog article, Unsung Features, since this one is already too long. They include setting amount of contrast in a PDF, zooming in to a webpage, setting Device time and other good features.
Well, no surprise maybe. While I did not order a new DX as I like the one I have, I did pre-order the new 3G/WiFi and chose the same old white color, as it doesn't show dust as easily and it's sunnier and I like less of a boundary visible to me. It turns out that the WiFi-Only model seems to be available only in Graphite, while the 3G/WiFi one gives us a choice of White or Graphite.
Am repeating links from the now-distant top of this posting. for convenience. I could say order early to get into the queue but I imagine there will be plenty of these available :-).
U.S. and International (except UK)
Free 3G/WiFi - $189 (White/Graphite) and WiFi-only- $139 (Graphite)
Cover, with light powered by Kindle's battery - $60
Cover, w/o light - $35
Free 3G/WiFi - £149.00 (White/Graphite) and WiFi-only- £109.00 (Graphite)
Cover, with light powered by Kindle's battery - £50
Cover, w/o light - £30
Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
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