Amazon’s Quest to Change the World

Any of you who have listened to our podcasts know that Matt and I are addicted to the Amazon Kindle.  It has (for me, at least) reKINDLED my love for reading and has made accessing new books easier than walking into the library and picking up something to read.  I have said from the beginning that Amazon is on a mission to change the world of literature, and yesterday they made several announcements that will push them even further along toward that goal.

The first noteable piece of news was the massive price drop on the Kindle hardware.  The newest iteration of the basic Kindle device is on sale immediately for only $79.99.  This is a significant decrease in price over the last generation, and should easily be a deciding factor for anyone who was on the fence about making the purchase.

 

Amazon also introduced a new lineup of Kindle devices (also with lower prices).  The Kindle Touch is nearly the same as the basic Kindle, but it is operated entirely via touch screen.  This device comes in two flavors: standard wi-fi enabled or 3G.  What makes this even more exciting is that Amazon has announced that the 3G service will be completely free – meaning you don’t have to set up a contract with a wireless provider like with just about every other 3G device on the market. The kindle Touch is listed at $99, and the 3G version is $149.

Last of all, and arguably the most exciting: Amazon has announced the Kindle Fire.  The Kindle Fire is essentially a full color, 7 inch, Android-powered tablet. Oh, and the most exciting part?  It’s only $199.  Here is an excerpt from the product description on Amazon.com:

Display 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
Size (in inches) 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
Weight 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
System Requirements None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer.
On-device Storage 8GB internal. That’s enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Battery Life Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.
Charge Time Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
USB Port USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
Audio 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
Documentation Quick Start Guide(included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device)
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Kindle is subject to the terms found here.
Included in the Box Kindle Fire device, U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V), and Quick Start Guide.

 

I am really impressed with the progress Amazon has made and the dedication they have for supporting their eReader.  This is indeed an exciting time for lovers of books and lovers of technology.  It is also an exciting time for anyone who has ever wanted a tablet, but didn’t want to shell out the massive prices that are associated with them.

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