Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kindle News QuickPost - New Paperwhite is out now and Amazon offers MatchBooks, $2.99, or less, Kindle versions of some print-books purchased new from Amazon. Update #3

Here's the announcement of the new Kindle Paperwhite 2 (6th generation) at the Kindle Forums this morning, which gives details in pure text form (bold-face emphases mine):
' Initial post: Sep 3, 2013 10:16:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author 1 hour ago

David A. - Forum Moderator says:

Today, we announced that the world's best-selling e-reader-Kindle Paperwhite-is getting even better. The all-new Kindle Paperwhite features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers.

Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G are available for pre-order starting today at Amazon... Here's a list of all the changes and new features of the Kindle Paperwhite:

- New display technology with higher contrast-Kindle Paperwhite's display is the most advanced e-reader display ever constructed. Higher contrast and better reflectivity means whites are whiter and blacks are blacker, so the pages are virtually indistinguishable from a physical book. You won't find this level of contrast with any other e-reader display.
- Next generation built-in light-Guides light toward the surface of the display so you can read comfortably without eyestrain.
- New, 25% faster processor-Books open and pages turn faster for a seamless reading experience.
- New touch technology-19% tighter touch grid makes Kindle Paperwhite respond even more accurately to the smallest touches, while still avoiding accidental page turns.
- New Kindle Page Flip-Skim page-by-page, scan by chapter [!], or skip to the end of your book, all without losing your place. For example, it's now easy to quickly flip back and forth to that map of Beyond the Wall in A Dance With Dragons.
- New Goodreads Integration-Combines the world's largest e-reading community and the world's largest community of book lovers. Join over 20 million other readers and see what your friends are reading, share highlights, and rate the books you read with Goodreads on Kindle, available exclusively from Amazon.
- New Kindle FreeTime-Built-in parental controls have been extended to give parents a simple, engaging way to encourage kids to spend more time reading. Hand-select books for your kids to read, and hand out achievement badges when they hit reading milestones. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books finished.
- New Vocabulary Builder-Compiles words you look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list. Use these lists to quiz yourself with flashcards and instantly see words in context.
- New Smart Lookup-Integrates a full dictionary definition with other reference information about a word, character, topic or book via X-Ray and Wikipedia. For example, using an ordinary dictionary to look up "credit default swaps" in Michael Lewis' The Big Short would give the individual definitions of "credit," "default" and "swaps." Smart Lookup recognizes this is an important topic and phrase in the book, and gives you the correct definition of "credit default swaps" via X-Ray.
- New Kindle MatchBook-New benefit lets customers purchase Kindle editions of print books purchased from Amazon-past, present and future - for $2.99 or less. '

Update 3 Added notes: UK buyers will go to the same links as before, to get the new one. I've redone the current Kindles Global Listing.

The new WiFi Paperwhites will be released late September and the 3G in early November.  Check the product pages for current actual-release dates.

Here's the U.S. product page for the 3G version of the Kindle Paperwhite.

The new model has the same dimensions, so buying new cases and covers won't be necessary.
[End of Update 3]

Ending it here, to let people know sooner. More details later, especially on the new Kindle MatchBooks feature, which offers (for $2.99 or less-- and some are free) Kindle versions of print books previously purchased new and from Amazon - info for customers, authors, publishers.  The matching is done for print books you purchased, new, from Amazon since "1995 when Amazon first opened its online bookstore."  And of course this holds for future print books too, depending on whether author and publisher join the Kindle MatchBook program.

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  1. Wow. HUGE letdown.

    And I'm not even one of these "I need TTS on an eReader!" people, or even a "I need page turn buttons! GAAH!" (at least, not any more). I had hoped that, since the pre-conference specs for the Fire HD matched or beat the Nexus lineup/refresh, that the new specs for the Paperwhite would match or beat the Kobo Aura HD. Too bad. A slightly faster CPU (why do we need one, especially since they didn't up the storage, so no extra CPU needed for library parsing? my PW works fine), a slightly "better" contrast ratio (was this really an issue?)...

    I could go on and on, but basically I guess what I'm saying is that they basically did a bunch of software updates, didn't give us anything we wanted in terms of hardware other than (hopefully) more even lighting, and for the same cost.

    Should have either done these minor refreshes and dropped the cost slightly, or kept the same cost and doubled the flash memory and either a higher contrast screen or page turn buttons. The TTS is, admittedly, much more expensive per unit to put "back in."

    For shame, Amazon. Guess I'll be skipping this cycle.

    1. Tyler,
      Thanks for the quick response.
      The display itself seems to have been focused on getting it 'whiter,' probably in response to those who are bothered by any darkening of certain areas when you're in a room with lowest light.

      I really like my Paperwhite but do wish the contrast were better when the light is needed, as increasing lighting decreases contrast. That's all relative though.

      But I've been so happy with the original Paperwhite otherwise that, as a regular buyer, it would depend on how important any feature would be for me.

      Some of them could be done as software updates. Some of them may require the faster processor (the original does have its delays).

      For blog purposes I'll probably buy one anyway so I can answer questions about it, but for new buyers, this is a somewhat improved model with some additional features but for the same amount of money as the last one cost.

      At any rate, they're saving you money if you decide not to go to the latest one. :-) I did wish for audio added and with more space for that type of file. That would have increased size though.. The same covers and cases will fit this one too.

  2. I can't say I'm disappointed, this is pretty much what I would have expected for the update.

    I think it is likely that several of the software features will show up on the original Paperwhite, provided one is prepared to wait 3 or 4 months or more. The hardware is so similar that I'd be surprised if the new software didn't already run as is (and one imagines the software was initially developed and tested on original Paperwhites). The hardware improvements seem pretty minor. So I have no immediate plans to get a PW2. I'm still saving up for what I think will wind up being the iPad Mini retina, whenever that ships.

    (interesting that they think '30% lighter than iPad mini' is a selling point. It might have sounded more impressive if they had said the mini is '42% heavier'. But why even compare the two? Save it for the new Fires..)

    I think there is space in there to add an audio chip and additional storage (as teardown of the original PW demonstrated) but I think the market for such features is limited, and they probably want to avoid having too many choices, and besides the entry level Fire is better at that sort of thing (audio).

    1. All good points, Tom!
      I had heard that the added audio chip and additional storage would cause enough of a weight and cost shift that the heavy competition for lightest, least expensive, for value, e-Ink reader would have been lost. People want most to be able to hold that thing one-handed on the subway, etc. Or even in bed, where any iTablet is a problem (though I remember trying to use the DX that way!).

      I had written to someone else earlier, as you do here, that the KFires are better for audio and I want it for Kindle books with lots of decent-resolution images. I remember that when Amazon did ot put audio capability into the Paperwhite, I had read that they'd found that few Kindle owners were using the audio feature. I was one who wants that feature but hardly ever used it. On the other hand, the speaker was so hard to hear, that was one huge reason. Don't really want to carry around headphones or even a small little speaker (those small little ball speakers for $20 can be amazing, depending on which one you get, and I still use it when the volume is too low on the KFire 8.9. The KFire 7 has a better sound system on it for some reason.

      Are your minor blotch probs over? I'll be watching user feedback (but it won't be available until after September, really) on the increased 'white' level of the screen. That would be the major change for some. As for contrast I keep my light level between 12-14 so that contrast is not as affected, for my eyes.

      The iPad mini retina should be a killer model. But so will be the price if they're still charging $349 for the one with such low resolution on it.

    2. I can't say the minor blotch problems are gone, but for some reason it escapes my notice. Most of the time I pretend there is no front light and keep it at level 2 or so, i.e. just for reading in the dark. I know, that is kind of weird, but I just got tired of fiddling with the light level trying to get it to look 'perfect'.

    3. :-) Level 2 on mine is so dark, Tom, I can't see the words. They probably vary... I do keep it mostly at 12 and seldom touch it, only sometimes raising it to 14. My blotches when new are almost completely gone except in darkest light and low-level choice.

    4. I think that the new in-line footnotes + flipping through pages while not losing your page and scanning by chapters are real pluses for me. I'd do the Paperwhite trade-in, probably, as long as the new screen is as good.

    5. I should add that I almost never read in complete darkness with the Paperwhite for more than a few minutes, any more than that is hard on my eyes. "2" is fine for that, anything like 12 would be less eye strain, but blazingly bright and no doubt disruptive to my sleep patterns. Here I think a backlit device is superior, as with night mode one still has crisp contrast, but without 'flashlight in the eyes', sleep-disrupting brightness).

      Yet where there's otherwise sufficient light to read, I don't find the experience improved simply because I turn up the LEDs so that the background is whiter. Contrast is constant as far as I can tell, because the light also lightens the black text. I will stop short of saying the LED lighting is just a gimmick, it is far more convenient than having an external book light, but I just don't think it adds much when one would otherwise not need a book light. In fact it does diminish the clarity of the screen since it introduces another refraction surface. People may not notice this because they're using larger text sizes or have no basis for comparison.

      I'm sure that is what Sony's thinking is with the PRS-T3, though its lack of the Paperwhite/Aura/Glowlight light layer has attracted ridicule in the blogosphere as being 'retrograde.' When we are able to do side by side comparisons, especially between Kobo Aura and PRS-T3 (since I think those are both still 'Pearl'), I think they'll be vindicated, though it probably will not help their sales much. The PRS-T3 has a nice, compact design, the built in cover seems convenient, and it looks like it should be a little cheaper than the Paperwhite or Aura (unless one gets Sony's lighted cover).

      I probably will want to get one of the new crop of ePub e-readers when they are out in the world (we're still waiting for B&N's announcement). I like having one to play with. I sold my Nook Simple Touch and probably will sell my PRS-T1, so I'm making room. I am leaning towards the PRS-T3 at the moment, Kobo hardware/software has not been so great in the past, and my expectations are low for B&N to deliver something better than the other two.

  3. For me, the best part about a new Kindle is that I'll be able to get a refurb PW1 cheaper.

  4. I have a question regarding the new generation of kindle paperwhite .
    I have already own a paperwhite and I want to know if amazon will release a software update for paperwhite generation1 to support new features in generation 2 of paperwhite, such as "vocabulary builder", as well ?

    1. Plangton, it's hard to know, but the (older) Kindle Touch received a lot of the features of the newer Paperwhite about a half year after the Paperwhite was released, so it's very possible that SOME of the newer features might be added later.

  5. Personally, I use the text to speech feature a lot. So, will continue on with my Kindle Touch until they can figure out how to put audio into the paperwhite. (not to mention the text to audio deals they offer with audible)

    1. To: Anonymous, Dec 12, at 12:51 PM PST -- That's an important feature not on the Paperwhite, although a report said they found relatively few Kindle e-Ink eReader customers actually used the audio feature, and I guess those were the features cut that made it possible to sell the device at a lower cost. I'd be surprised if they never make a model WITH audio at some point, but it's been awhile. The KTouch is still beautiful to read on (I still have mine).


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