Friday, September 30, 2011

A look at what the new Kindle Touch 3G offers - some differences

KINDLE TOUCH 3G
Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally

Notes about the new Kindle Touch 3G
The product page presentation begins with the feature that differentiates this device from the Kindle Touch (WiFi only):

  "Free 3G wireless, no annual contracts or monthly fees."

  "Kindle Touch 3G uses the same wireless signals as cell phones, so you don't need to worry about Wi-Fi connections, passwords or internet charges.  Unlike cell phones, with Kindle Touch 3G there are no monthly fees or commitments — Amazon pays for Kindle Touch 3G's wireless connectivity."

This model also comes with WiFi, local network access.

As with the older Kindle 3 with 3G (now called the Kindle Keyboard 3G),  it has Text-to-speech (TTS) , can read audio books and play mp3's, including podcasts

All Kindles can borrow from public libraries now.

I'll be pointing out only differences between the older and new model offering 3G, as it's easy enough to see what Amazon offers by just going to the Product page for the Kindle Touch 3G.  I very much recommend readers take the time to slowly go over that page.



UPDATE - Amazon Kindle Team has made an official response to this question.  The Kindle Touch 3G has a more limited use of its 3G connectivity in that the 3G has been enabled for connection only to the Kindle Store, to download books and periodicals, and to access Wikipedia.  The experimental web-browsing feature isn't enabled for 3G but can be used via WiFi.  The Kindle Keyboard 3G   (UK: Kindle Keyboard 3G), will still have its 3G enabled for the experimental web browser.

  Click on the link above to read the statement by Kindle Team.

Points to keep in mind, on this touchscreen Kindle:
You can tap  ("no need to swipe") to turn pages, so Amazon points out you can hold the Kindle in either hand.

   Speed. Even the Kindle Basic ($79 to $109) has been praised (it's already shipping) for its noticeably faster page turns and speedier processes in general, over the older keyboard models.

  A new feature named "X-Ray" is available on the new Touch models and Amazon explains it this way:
  "Explore the 'bones of a book.' With a single tap, see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics of interest, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari."

  They reiterate that Amazon is providing "free cloud storage for all Amazon content" (meaning content you purchase from them -- music, video, as well as books).

  Battery Life:  Amazon used to base battery life on a rational 1 hour per day usage, but ever since
Barnes and Noble decided to base theirs on only 1/2 hour per day usage, and columnists picked up BN's results without looking at what daily usage it was based on,  Amazon has now changed its basis for
calculations, to match the 1/2 hour per day that Barnes and Noble apparently feels its users spend on books.
  So now, 2 months between charges  (with Wireless Off)  is claimed rather than 1 month.

  Also see Kindle Customer Service advisories on best battery maintenance practices.

  (I'm a Barnes and Noble card-carrying paid-member and am enjoying a NookColor, but this battery usage thing is for the birds, and I don't mean Angry ones, just BN's idea of disinterested ones.

  Content formats supported:  This isn't different from before, but it's often been said by people who don't know much about the Kindle, that the Kindle supports only Amazon's one format.  Here is the actual list of formats supported (this hasn't changed) :
  Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion


I'm really glad that Amazon is keeping the Kindle Keyboard models active, as there are many who still prefer even a clunky physical keyboard to a touchscreen one. The Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) has been known for its beautiful screen contrast, moreover.

Amazon has more to say on the special features in the lower portion of their page, which may receive less views, so I'll add some of it here

New Touch Experience - EasyReach
"Amazon invented a new type of touch experience that eliminates the fatigue caused by continuously swiping to turn the page, and that allows readers to hold Kindle with either hand while still turning pages comfortably  

  Page turns and other navigation with this model:

    Tapping on most of the screen area will page forward,
        the most common action done when reading;
    tapping in a narrow area near the left edge of the device turns to the previous page; and
    tapping on the top part of the screen brings up the toolbars for further options."

Customer Fonts - as with Kindle 3 model:
  "... hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting to make words and letters more crisp, clear, and natural-looking  ...  improving legibility at small font sizes where few pixels are available..."

Support for Non-Latin Characters
This hasn't changed since Kindle, but it bears repeating here:
  ... Kindle Touch displays Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters, in addition to Latin and Greek scripts.

Full Image Zoom
(I miss this feature in reading normal books on my NookColor and it's said that the Adobe DRM format
for ePub has something to do with the limitation on that unit, which is otherwise very capable.)
"Images and photos display crisply on Kindle Touch 3G and can be zoomed to the full size of the screen."

Real Page Numbers
Again, many still don't know about this newer feature, which is on Kindle 3's as well.
  "Easily reference and cite passages or read alongside others in a book club or class with real page numbers.  ... we've created algorithms that match specific text in a Kindle book to the corresponding text in a print book, to identify the correct, "real" page number to display.

  Available on tens of thousands of our most popular Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions.
  Page numbers are displayed when you touch the top of the screen.  (On the Kindle 3, it's done by pressing the Menu button.)

Carry and Read Your Personal Documents
Few know about this feature, which is getting even more support now.
  "You and your approved contacts can e-mail documents – including Word, PDF and more - directly to your Kindle and read them in Kindle format.  Delivery via Wi-Fi is free; there is a small fee for delivery via 3G - see details.

NEW TO KINDLE 3 AND NEW E-INK KINDLES
  "Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library on Amazon and ready to download conveniently anywhere at any time. You can add notes, highlights and bookmarks, which are automatically synchronized across devices along with the last page you read using our Whispersync technology."
  (Nate Hoffelder (and Felix Torres) had first noticed this by viewing the ManageYourKindle webpage source code and noting variables for pdocs and archiving.)

  ALSO, as has been true for well over a year, "You can read your PDFs in their native format AND convert them to the Kindle format so that it reflows like a regular Kindle book"

Personal Kindle Book Lending
  Besides public-library lending, already mentioned, "each eligible book (eligibility determined by the publisher] can be lent once for a period of 14 days."  [Publishers have held B&N to the same personal-lending rules]

Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers
  This applies onlly to the "Special Offers" Kindle models, in this particular case the $149 Kindle Touch 3G.
Special offers are received on the unit, which also has sponsored screensavers seen only when not reading.
  Examples:
• $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
• Save up to $500 off Amazon's already low prices on select HDTVs
• $1 for a Kindle book, choose from thousands of books

Audible Audiobooks
As with previous models, you can listen to Audible books with the Kindle Touch 3G (as well as play mp3's).

DECISIONS
For those who are having a difficult time deciding on which of the many Kindles to get, be sure to see the "Compare Kindles" table on that product page, which comes with images of each model.  I haven't had time to give the WiFi-Only version of the Kindle Touch a thorough look yet, but the two devices should be the same except for the 3G module

  
If you have any questions on what you see in that table, please feel free to ask here, and you can also visit the Kindle Community forums where there is always help from other customers 24/7.



For daily free ebooks, check the following links:


Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date   Late-listed
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle (U.S. only, currently):
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  99c Calendar,   99c Converter
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14 comments:

  1. Weird that Amazon charging $50 for 3G upgrade for the Touch, but only $40 for the Keyboard model. Apple gets $130 for this upgrade, and you still have to pay for data access.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another major difference between the older Kindle 3G - now being called Kindle Keyboard 3G - and the Kindle Touch 3G is that the Webkit browser will only work under wifi with the Touch (per Amazon website). I think that's a potentially big disadvantage for some users. I'm guessing it was a compromise that Amazon had to make with the 3G carrier for a lower data rate since a touch device will inevitably lead to a surge in data use.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter,
    Yes, not that many people know that Apple first came out with WiFi-only iPad and then a few months later added the 3G module for an additional $130 on top of the $500 (not counting the $30 connector kit for USB and SD card).

    The slowness of the e-Ink web browsing would preclude charging anything appreciable3 for it though. But it's great to have when you need it, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, the storage of personal documents is a great feature, which I hoped they would implement. I often read books from other sources than Amazon, and I would have liked to be able to access them from the PC also. Good job, Amazon!

    ReplyDelete
  5. a girl and a guy,
    I don't think you saw my post written yesterday about the KTouch3G and the free 3G web browsing. It's at http://bit.ly/kwktouch3gq.

    If you look at that thread carefully and then click on the link to see follow-up posts this morning, 100% of customer reps say that the Touch 3G will do 3G web browsing. However, I cited exactly that passage and I hope Amazon changes its page language or says something about what they might be intending.

    At this point, I don't think it'll be a difference, because so many customer reps are now on record. Since you're interested in it, please read the whole entry though before deciding on either side of the question.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It looks like Active Content will not work on Touch: I'm not able to send any of mine to my pre-ordered KT. Not much of a surprise there, given the vastly different keyboard input method. Wonder if there will eventually be AC for the KT?

    It's probably the same with the new 'Kindle' since its popup text entry panel would impair functionality. But perhaps someone who has gotten one or has ordered one can check that.

    I won't miss AC very much if it is gone, though the touch interface could provide a better experience if they update the KDK to support that.

    Also curious if they have retained the experimental image viewer in the two new eInk Kindles.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bob Anderson, West VirginiaSeptember 30, 2011 at 9:55:00 AM PDT

    Thank you for your most helpful comments. When the K3 came out, I was quite content to stick with my K2, and told folks my plan was to wait for the next iteration. As I expected, it is a better, faster, stronger product, while also being cheaper. That $149 looks real good to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maybe I'm wrong about AC on Touch, the product page has this:

    "Games
    Take a break from reading to enjoy a selection of great games specially designed for Kindle, like Every Word and Number Slide.
    "

    But again, I can't send Every Word to my preordered KT, so maybe it needs an update before that's possible.

    Hmm, and I'm curious if the virtual keyboard on Touch lets you type in diacritics, Cyrillic, etc. My preference would be a tap-and-hold method at least for Latin based scripts (rather than separate keyboard layouts), so for example, holding 'a' key would sequentially present diacritics of 'a', and when you get the one you want, lift your finger off.

    Wondering if you can extend a selection to an adjacent page (an annoyance of Nook Touch is that you cannot).

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just discovered that my personal documents, i.e., blogs that I scheduled Calibre to send me daily, have been stored in the Personal Documents section of Your Kindle Library since yesterday. Sweet! It says I have 5 GB storage for personal documents. Doesn't look like I can download them to Kindle for iOS. Bummer.

    I am holding off purchasing a Kindle Touch 3G (although I could always return it within 30 days) until some reviewers get them in hand. My biggest question is whether the text is just as crisp and dark as it is on the Kindle Keyboard (aka Kindle 3).

    One of the criticisms of the Nook Touch vs Nook Classic that I have read is that the touch-screen layer caused the text to be less dark and crisp as the Nook Classic.

    If the text quality is the same, I will be tempted.

    It will also be nice to unequivocally answer the question whether web browsing over 3G is permitted. As much of a PITA it is to move a cursor on a web page with the 5-way control buttons, having a touch interface would be SWEET.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, there is now a report of a rep saying 3g is only for wikipedia and Kindle Store. So confusing. This must be costing a lot of CS $ not to mention pre-sales due to the FUD. They need to get their story straight, whatever it is.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Personal Document thing seems like a work in progress. At the moment I can't even send it to the same Kindle I originally addressed. On the Kindle side, it behaves just as before, i.e., Delete instead of Remove. Maybe this is what the 3.3 update is for? (it still hasn't shown up for me).

    AC works on Kindle 4 that just shipped, BTW. But I still wonder how it will work with KT.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Personal Document enhancements seem to be 'in progress'. Apparently my K3 needs to have the 3.3 update, which Amazon hasn't delivered to my K3 or posted for general consumption yet. The Deliver to.. options should show the 2 Kindles I have on pre-order, but only show one of them (not sure which is which).

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm with Tom S. in wondering if the text legibility has suffered.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Question: What is "experimental web browsing?" Who benefits the most from this feature? Perhaps it's something I would not use. I'm getting ready to purchase the Kindle Touch 3G. Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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