Amazon unveils $79 E-Ink Kindle, $99 Kindle Touch

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The Kindle Fire was highlight of Amazon's press conference in New York City today, but the company had other exciting announcements to make: namely, the addition of three new Kindles to its lineup priced to move at $79, $99, and $149.

The first is a stripped-down, entry-level version of the Kindle with a directional pad and buttons for page turning, but no full hardware keyboard for text input as in previous models. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said it's "incredibly light" at less than 6 ounces, 30 percent lighter than the previous generation, and has the most advanced E Ink display. Its body size is also 18 percent smaller, but it still features a 6-inch screen, Wi-Fi, and comes with 2GB of internal storage.

In order to drive the price that low Amazon is shipping the new entry-level Kindle with its Special Offers platform and their Amazon Local deals service. An ad-free version of the device will be available priced at $109.


Basic Kindle model on the left, Kindle Touch on the right

Next up, the Kindle Touch features an IR touch system that's similar to the one seen in the most recent Nook and Kobo eReader. It's smaller and lighter than the third-gen Kindle and has no keyboard or side buttons. As such, the Kindle Touch has a new page-turning system that lets you go back or forward by tapping the left or right side of the screen, while tapping in the middle will bring up the menu. Bezos says it's the simplest way to navigate the device.

There's also a new feature called "X-Ray" which gives you contextual information about the content you’re reading. According to Amazon's own description, "With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon’s community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers."

The Kindle Touch boasts a 6-inch 600 x 800 pixel resolution screen at 167 pixels per inch supporting 16-levels of grayscale. It carries 4GB of internal memory, 3GB of which is available to the owner (enough to store 3,000 books, says Amazon), and measures 172 mm x 120 mm x 10.1 mm while weighing just 213 grams.

Battery life is said to be around two months if wireless is turned off and the e-book reader is used for half an hour's worth of reading per day. If Wi-Fi is on, it will last six-weeks. Amazon is also offering a 3G version -- with a free lifetime of data in 100 countries -- for $149 with pre-orders starting today and shipping on November 21.

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