Amazon overhauls Kindle, adds $139 Wi-Fi model

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Facing increased competition, Amazon has revamped its Kindle e-reader, making improvements all around and adding a cheaper Wi-Fi-only model. The new device is 21% smaller with the same 6-inch reading area, 15% lighter (8.7 ounces), 20% faster at page turns (with quieter page turn buttons), and supposedly offers 50% better contrast than any other e-reader. Additionally, it can last for up to a month on a single charge with wireless disabled twice as long as before and up to 10 days with wireless on. Internal storage has been doubled to 4GB, which equates to around 3,500 books.

There's a handful of software improvements too, such as Twitter and Facebook integration, new functions like dictionary lookup as well as notes and highlights, and it even has an "experimental" WebKit-based browser. In case you're unfamiliar with the Kindle, it's worth noting that it has access to over 630,000 paid books and 1.8 million free out-of-copyright works, and any material downloaded is accessible on iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and Android devices via Whispersync. If you're more into audio books, it also has a text-to-speech option that reads content to you.


The premium model is priced at $189, which includes both Wi-Fi and free 3G connectivity over AT&T's network. Alternatively, there's a Wi-Fi-only model for $139 (which undercuts the Nook Wi-Fi) that doesn't have access to 3G, but can still hop on AT&T's US hotspots. Both iterations will ship to customers worldwide on August 27 in graphite or white, and case options will include one that has a built-in, retractable LED light for late night readers.

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