Jul 292010

Well after so many months of longing for the No.1 bestselling product at Amazon.com, my friends and family in the UK can at last buy the Kindle ebook reader in the UK as the online store Amazon.co.uk releases a sleeker, smaller and lighter version of the must have gadget that folks in the US have been flaunting for the past 2 years.

Yes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced two new 6-inch Kindle ebook readers, the Kindle WiFi-only model costing £109 and a new Kindle free 3G + WiFi model costing £149. Plus you will need a kindle cover. Both Kindle models are now available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk and will ship on 27th August 2010. The Kindle WiFi-only model and the Kindle free 3G + WiFi models are offered in graphite.

The latest generation Kindle devices come with hardware and feature upgrades compared with the now out-of-stock Kindle 2 from Amazon.com. Most notably, they come with the new Pearl display from E Ink that have 50% improved contrast for a crisper display. The new Pearl display which has been used in the latest Kindle DX (which is unavailable in the UK) is an advancement on the Vizplex screen technology, which comes courtesy of E Ink, that has been used for all of the major ebook readers currently on the market e.g. Amazon Kindle 2, Barnes and Noble Nook and Sony. With the Pearl display, the contrast between the background and the text now resembles the appearance of a paperback book unlike the Vizplex display which resembles a typical newspaper. The adoption of Pearl should be more widespread as ebook reader manufacturers upgrade devices in the future.

The new Kindle ebook readers are smaller than the previous Kindle 2, with a 21 percent smaller body and 15 percent lighter mass. Despite the smaller size, they have managed to squeeze much more battery life into the device: up to 30 days with wireless off and 10 days with wireless on. They have also doubled the internal memory to 4GB thereby allowing storage of 3,500 books (just like the Kindle DX with free 3G) and have improved the page refresh rate to make it 20 percent faster.

From the press release by Amazon.com, some of the salient features of the new Kindles are as follows:

New improved PDF Reader: The new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs.

New WebKit-based Browser (experimental): The updated Kindle uses a new web browser based on the industry-leading open source Web browser engine, WebKit. The new browser is faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new “article mode” feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text-based content for easier reading. Web browsing with Kindle over 3G or Wi-Fi is free.

New Voice Guide: With Text-to-Speech, the Kindle can read out loud to you. New Text-to-Speech enabled menus allow customers to navigate Kindle without having to read menu options. In addition to listening to books aloud, users now have the option of listening to content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options.

New Proprietary Screen Technology–Faster Page Turns, New and Improved Fonts: The Kindle’s all-new, high-contrast electronic ink display is further optimized with Amazon’s proprietary waveform and font technology to make pages turn faster and fonts sharper. Waveform is a series of electronic pulses that move black and white electronic ink particles to achieve a final gray level for an image or text. Amazon tuned the new Kindle’s waveform and controller mechanism to make page turning 20 percent faster. In addition, this waveform tuning combined with new hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting make words and letters more crisp, clear, and natural-looking. Font hints are instructions, written as code, that control points on a font character’s line and improve legibility at small font sizes where few pixels are available. Hinting is a mix of aesthetic judgments and complicated technical strategies. Amazon designed its proprietary font-hinting to optimize specifically for the special characteristics of electronic ink.

For further details of Kindle Latest Generation visit Amazon.co.uk.

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