Amazon held their press conference today, Sept 6, to announce their new products. I will highlight these products here, and try to give you an overview without getting you overloaded with details you probably don’t want to know. For those who are interested in learning more, I will provide links to two reviews at the end of this post, and product links to each as they are mentioned.
In a nutshell: Amazon kept the basic Kindle and reduced its price; they are no longer carrying the Kindle Touch; they added a new model that they call the Kindle Paperwhite; and they improved and expanded their Kindle Fire line.
Kindle (the basic version)
They have reduced the price of their smallest and lightest Kindle to $69.
This basic model weighs less than 6 oz, and has built in wifi. You use buttons to turn the pages. The $69 version is sold with “special offers” and if you want to buy this basic model without “special offers” it will cost you $89.
* A note about “special offers”:
The “special offers” translated into real-speak means: advertisements. The Kindle that I am using now is a “special offers” version, and to be honest it is not a big deal at all. The ads are NOT intrusive. They do NOT show up on a page when you are reading. They only appear on the screen when the Kindle is resting. Once you wake it up and go to your book, there are no ads to be seen. (I have made a purchase from the special offer page. Ever on the alert for a good deal, one day I saw an offer for a $10 Amazon gift card for $5. I thought that was too good to pass up.) Personally, I’d buy a “special offers” version, and save the extra $.
The Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon introduced their NEW Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite. (People are already bashing the name, and I will admit that in my mind I’ve been referring to it as the ‘paperweight’ or ‘paperlight’. I can’t seem to get my mind to wrap around this name.)
There are 2 versions of the Paperwhite.
A wireless version for $119 and a 3G version for $179.
* another note about “special offers”
The Paperwhite versions break down a little further because of the “special offers” option. The wireless $119 is WITH special offers. If you don’t want special offers to appear on your device, the same Kindle will cost you $139. And for the 3G version: With “special offers” is $179. Without “special offers” is $199. (Remember… you get the same device, just with or without ads.)
I was hoping for a lit screen, and the rumors were that this was coming. Hurray! I’m pleased. This new Kindle is not backlit, so it is still easy on the eyes as is all the e-ink technology. It will also not wash out in the sunshine, so the Kindle remains an awesome choice for outdoor reading. The difference here, from previous Kindle versions, is the screen light. The text is illuminated by light spread across the surface. Apparently this is incredibly difficult to perfect, and I am anxious to see it. Reviews so far are coming out strongly that this is an awesome device.
The major difference between these two versions is that the more expensive one includes 3G. That is free 3G access from anywhere in the world.
The Kindle Fire
There are now 4 versions of the Kindle Fire.
There is another 7 inch WiFi Fire, but this one has an HD display and comes with either 16 GB or 32 GB. Priced at $199 and $249, respectively.
With all these new tablet choices, it is clear that Amazon is not going to roll over and let Apple dominate the field. These tablets are full of awesome features, and with so many choices in size and power, it gives the consumer a lot of flexibility.
Amazon also announced a few new features. One in particular will be very popular with parents. Free on all Kindle Fires, it is called Free Time, and it allows parents to manage what their children do on the Fire. Parents can limit access to some things, set time limits on others, and create separate profiles for several individuals. After all… a game that your 14 year old loves to play might be too violent for your 6 year old. This can all be tweeked to make it suitable for everyone in the household.
There are many more features and if you are considering any of these devices, just follow the links on the products above to learn more.
Reviews are starting to appear all over the internet. Here are a few: