We'll skip the obligatory intro that talks about how size matters in these situations and instead cut right to the chase - Amazon this morning introduced a new version of its Kindle DX, as well as a new lower price of $379, down from $489. The revamped Kindle DX is not only more affordable than ever, but bigger than before and features a new graphite enclosure and a significantly improved e-ink display with a superior contrast ratio.
"There's no turning back once you read on our beautiful new Knidle DX screen," said Steve Kessel, senior vice president, Amazon Kindle. "With 50 percent better contrast and darker fonts, you'll find it easier than ever to read wherever you happen to be, whether it's outside in bright sunlight or under the low light of your living room. We're excited to offer the new Kindle DX with free 3G wireless at the lower price of $379.
The screen measures 9.7 inches and, according to Amazon, is ideally suited for graphic rich books, PDFs, newspapers, magazines, and blogs. It comes with 4GB of internal storage (which boils down to about 3.3GB left over from the integrated software), which Amazon says is enough to hold up to 3,500 books.
This is the latest development in an ongoing price war that was sparked just over a week ago when Barnes and Noble lowered the cost of its 3G Nook to $199 and introduced a Wi-Fi model at $149. Hours later, Amazon responded with a price cut of its own, reducing the Amazon's cost of entry to $189. Where things go from here is anyone's guess, but it's quickly becoming clear that vendors are looking to aggressively promote ebook readers as relevant hardware as we start to move into the tablet era.
Amazon's newest Kindle DX will be available July 7, with pre-orders now being taken.
Amazon's Kindle reader apps for Apple's iOS devices – the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch – now support books with audio/video elements. The ability to play embedded video/audio, however, does not extend to its flagship eReader. There are currently 13 e-books that leverage this new feature, including five travel guides, a cookbook promising “heavenly cakes”, and a knitting guide for beginners.
"In the new Kindle Edition with audio/video of 'Rick Steves' London,' the embedded walking tours allow customers to listen to Rick as they explore the sites of London," said Bill Newlin, publisher of Avalon Travel. "Rick's narration adds depth to the reader's experience, while listeners can follow the routes more easily with the text."
Apple is trying to present the iPad as an alternative to dedicated eReaders like Amazon's Kindle. Factor in the growing number of mobile devices capable of doubling up as eReaders and dedicated eReaders begin to appear vulnerable.
But Amazon harbors no intentions of going down with the ship it commands, if it does drown. The company is hedging its bet by porting the Kindle experience to disparate consumer devices. It currently provides free reading apps for the PC, Mac, iOS devices and Blackberry, and plans to support Android soon. Its software presence across a wide range of devices is like an insurance policy against the threat these very devices pose to its eReader.
If you're in the market for an ebook reader, you picked a good time to go shopping. Both Barnes and Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle recently received significant price reductions, and it had nothing to do with either company feeling particularly generous. Instead, iSuppli says the price cuts represent a change in business strategy brought on by increased competitive pressure from Apple's iPad.
"With these cuts, ebook readers from Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon now are priced at about the break-even level with their bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs, according to iSuppli's Teardown Analysis Service," said William Kidd, director and principal analyst, financial services for iSuppli. "With zero profits on their hardware, both these companies now hope to make their money in this market through the sale of ebooks. This is the same 'razor/razor blade' business model successfully employed in the video game console business, where the hardware is sold at a loss and profits are made on sales of content."
Barnes and Noble kicked things off on Monday when it slashed the price of its Nook by $60 and introduced an even cheaper Wi-Fi only model, and then hours later, Amazon followed suit with a $60 price cut of its own for the Kindle.
What this means in the grand scheme of things remains to be seen. According to iSuppli analyst Jordan Selburn, ebook reader sales are likely to spike in the short term, as they now cost less than half of an entry-level iPad. But looking longer term, Selburn sees ebook readers becoming more of a niche product.
The Kindle, like the Nook, has free 3G wireless data and an eInk screen. Barnes and Noble also announced a cheaper Wi-Fi only model, but it sells for $150. That's only $40 less than the new Kindle price point. The Nook's new pricing tiers are clearly predicated on the Kindle being stuck at $260.
Overall, this is great for consumers. The eReader price war has finally begun, and not a moment too soon. We've always felt that these devices were far too expensive for what they do. Does the new Kindle price change the equation for you?
If you were waiting for the ebook reader wars to get a lot more interesting, it just happened. Throwing a one-two combo punch at Amazon, Barnes and Noble today cut the cost of its 3G Nook ereader (KERPOW!) and also introduced a new Wi-Fi only model at a comparatively bargain basement price (BAM!).
The 3G Nook now sells for $199, which according to B&N makes it the market's first under-$200 dedicated full-featured ebook reader offering both free 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity options in one. And while B&N can spin this one however it see fits, at less than two Benjamins, and $60 less than Amazon's Kindle, the price point speaks for itself.
And what about the new Wi-Fi only model? That will only set you back $149 and includes all the same features as the regular Nook, sans 3G. At that price point, B&N is likely to attract users who previously might have been on the fence because of the well documented speed issues. Equally important, these new prices put B&N in a much better position to compete with Apple's iPad and every other tablet that's due to come out.
Like Foxconn, ECS has mostly moved away from its branded hardware business and instead now focuses on building products for the OEM channel. And come September, clients in the U.S. and Europe will start to receive 8-inch versions of the company's 9.7-inch E-Ink based prototype ebook reader.
Not a whole lot is known about the upcoming ebook reader, though a company rep did mention that it will come equipped with a Marvell CPU and PVI E-Ink e-paper. It will also sport 3G, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX support.
ECS also had on display at Computex a 10.1-inch tablet, the A102. Essentially a netbook in slate form, the A102 features an Intel Atom N450 processor (1.66GHz, 533MHz FSB, 512KB L2 cache), up to 2GB of DDR2-667 (it's unclear whether or not the RAM is user-upgradeable), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G, two USB ports, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and both Windows XP Home Edition and Windows 7 Home Basic OS options.
Computex is one of the biggest computer exhibitions in the world. Every year thousands of journalists,analysts, manufacturers, geeks, innovators and booth babes converge to view, demonstrate and hype the latest and greatest tech items. From laptops to cameras, heat sink fans and dual-core processors, Computex is where company's reveal up-and-coming products, display futuristic concept technologies and wow crowds with their demos. While Computex wraps up, we've chosen four major highlights of the show. Here's what you need to know:
Before you know it, you'll be able to mosey down to the local Target department store and buy an Amazon Kindle; no internet use needed. The popular ebook reader has been showing up in a few retail locations for the past few months, but now we've got a date for the full-scale rollout. All Target stores will have a supply of the Kindle by June 6th.
Presumably, this will offer consumers the opportunity to try out a Kindle before they buy it. With the online only model, many people never hold a Kindle until they receive it in the mail. Target stores have been selling Sony ebook readers for years, but the Kindle has proven to be attractive to consumers even without a retail presence.
The price is expected to remain the same, at $259. We still feel like the price needs to drop for the device to be truly competitive. Do you know anyone that's more likely to buy one if they can try it first?
The iPad may have sucked all the wind out of the Amazon Kindle's sails, but rumor has it a refresh of the lineup could be coming as early as August. Sources quoted by Bloomberg claim that the new device will be significantly thinner and lighter than the previous model and would feature a higher resolution display.
This sounds like a promising start, but those holding out for a color or touch screen version will probably be stuck buying an iPad since neither feature seems very likely this time around. It would seem that Amazon is content to concede the market for e-readers with benefits to Apple, and will continue to focus it's efforts on the hardcore book reading crowd who continue to favor dedicated devices that are lighter to hold, and easier on the eyes.
By reducing the weight and improving the legibility of the display, Amazon appears to be in a good position to continue fending off competitors such as Sony who have done a fairly competent job of catching up feature wise. It remains to be seen just how big the market for dedicated reading devices ends up being, but I would venture to guess that it's a heck of a lot smaller than the tablet crowd.
Do you have any interest in the Kindle? Or is your fickle fancy leading you more towards a tablet?
For Hardcore PC users tablet fatigue is slowly setting in. It seems like almost every week we hear another rumor or two about upcoming devices, and its only going to get worse. A recent patent application shows that Sony is the latest company preparing to pile on the bandwagon, but this time you might be interested to hear they are taking a page from the scrapped Microsoft Courier, namely its dual displays.
Described in the application as an "electronic book with enhanced features" the screens would take on different characteristics depending on its orientation. If held like a paperback book the device would simply function like a normal e-reader, but flipping it over into portrait mode would reveal and onscreen keyboard. It is unknown at this point if the device concept is for an e-reader or a multifunction tablet, but only time will tell.
Of course patent applications don't always become products so it could be quite some time (if ever) that this ends up seeing the light of day. What do you think of this form factor for an e-reader / tablet?