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Amazon unveils third-gen Kindle, adds $139 Wi-Fi only model

updated 08:20 pm EDT, Wed July 28, 2010

Amazon Kindle gets smaller design, Wi-Fi

Amazon in a rare evening launch revealed its third-generation Kindle reader. The new hardware is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the model it replaces but is better in nearly every way. It uses a new E Ink Pearl display with 50 percent better contrast and 20 percent faster page turns but can now last for up to a month with wireless off on battery, twice as much as before, and for up to 10 days with wireless on.

The line represents the first Kindle with Wi-Fi and now includes a Wi-Fi only version for those who don't need or want 3G; like modern smartphones, the Kindles with both can switch between connection types automatically. Other features bring voice commands in addition to the earlier text-to-speech, doubled storage that can hold up to 3,500 books, and an improved but still experimental web browser that uses WebKit and now loads faster.

Amazon's new Kindle costs the same $189 as the recently price-cut second generation model with both 3G and Wi-Fi included. The new Wi-Fi only model is one of the least expensive Internet readers yet at just $139, undercutting the Nook Wi-Fi. Both editions will ship to the US and UK August 27 in graphite black and white, and will be accompanied by a new $35 leather case with a $60 version that includes a retracting reading light.

The new design may prove critical to Amazon, which has seen a large increase in Kindle sales but is facing both stiffer competition from Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony as well as reading-ready tablets like the iPad. Apple's device is now more than three times as expensive as a Wi-Fi only Kindle, but its color touchscreen allows for a full app platform, video and deep Internet access. Only some buy iPads for reading, but those who own one often drop plans to get an e-paper device like the Kindle.

Amazon has repeatedly said this year that it believes the Kindle will continue to thrive as it's a more focused device that, while not as flexible, is much better for reading and costs much less as a result.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wi-Fi only

    Nice move but i bet that we still have to pay a $3 roaming premium for every book sold outside the US, ridiculous.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: WiFi only

    Nice move but i bet that we still have to pay a $3 roaming premium for every book sold outside the US, ridiculous.

    Except the charge to download outside the US is because Amazon has to pay data rates outside the US. And you do realize how much those telecom companies charge for international roaming? It's like $600 a byte.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: WiFi only

    Oh, and you can always just download to your computer and transfer it to your kindle...

  1. chas_m



    Not bad

    I like the styling.

    But I have to point out that this thing is smaller (and with smaller keys) than the previous model, and in a fit of irony uses Webkit for its web browser (which nobody will really use).

    If you're looking for a cheap single-purpose device, this comes closer to that goal. For anyone else, however, the iPad remains a better option.

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