Kindle Touch and New Kindle

No one announces just one product at an event these days, and Amazon is no different. Along with the Kindle Fire, Amazon saw fit to refresh their line of e-readers. E-reader enthusiasts, you know who you are, will recognize the technology behind the new Kindle Touch from the likes of the new Nook and the Kobo. The IR sensor laden e-ink display allows touch inputs to be received and elicit page turns and other UI interactions. Now devoid of many of its buttons, including the full QWERTY keyboard of its predecessors, the Kindle Touch is smaller than the Kindle 3 and comes at a new price point, $99. For that you get the WiFi model which promises faster page refreshes and so on. Free global wireless internet for life is the promise of the 3G variant, which at just a $50 premium makes it a terribly good bargain. 


Also joining the keyboardless clan is the new Kindle. This device shares the new e-ink panel with the Touch, but makes do with a hand full of navigation buttons in lieu of the touch screen. The device is significantly lighter and smaller than its predecessor, no doubt owing much to the loss of the keyboard, and brings the e-reader market to a new price target at just $79. The new Kindle will be offered in WiFi only guise, so bibiliphilic globetrotters will have to make do with the Kindle Touch 3G. Amazon also saw fit to unite its AmazonLocal deals service with the Special Offers that graced the last generation of Kindles. The new ads will be displayed as screensavers on the entire e-ink line and are promised to maintain a certain aesthetic so that a buyer would hardly notice that it's not just a pretty screensaver. 


Leading up to the announcement, I expected that Amazon would leverage its media offerings to make a tablet that could compete with Apple on content. Beyond that I had no idea what would be in store. It comes as little suprise though that Amazon saw fit to completely obfuscate the Android platform beneath a UI that steers the argument decidedly in favor of the tablet as media consumptive device. Based on these first looks, the UI is elegant and friendly, and the hardware is sufficient enough to provide a good media experience. And at $199, no other tablet offers as compelling a combination of services, content and value. We can't wait to get our hands on the Kindle Fire and discover whether Amazon has set the tablet market ablaze, or simply joined the other kindling. 

The New Kindle Family
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  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    root it and use a different browser. :)
  • MetroBodyWork - Sunday, October 2, 2011 - link

    I have it on very good authority that Amazon has a VERY strict policy about NEVER sharing ANY of the data they collect from users with any other company. But, believe what you will. :)
  • spigzone - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    Who would Amazon sell the information to?

    Selling the information could only help a competitor as Amazon competes with EVERYONE in the retail and entertainment delivery space.

    They are going to use the data strictly in house to continue to expand and fine tune their hegemony.

    With the Kindle Fire mainly by providing an immediate and instant Amazon buying opportunity for anything sellable the user shows in interest in.
  • MetroBodyWork - Sunday, October 2, 2011 - link

    Exactly :) There is no benefit to them to every sell that data. It would ruin their business like no other.
  • NCM - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    slashbinslashbash writes:
    "All that said, as a long-term Apple fan, user and shareholder, this tablet does concern me to a certain degree. 7" is half the screen area of 10", and there are other apparent flaws, but selling at a 60% discount to the cheapest iPad can make up for a whole lot of flaws. I think that Apple will have to drop pricing to compete, maybe by keeping the iPad 2 in the lineup at a reduced price when they introduce the iPad 3."

    I don't think so. Apple has 29 million unit sales, and counting, to say that the iPad is well priced. Although still very interesting, the Fire is a much lower spec (storage, screen size, connectivity) device than the iPad 2,. These aren't "flaws"—they're differences. The Fire doesn't so much compete with the iPad as extend the tablet market. I suspect that the Fire may offer enough to create a viable 7" mobile device market, one that has so far has suffered from being too big for the pocket and too small compared to the iPad.

    Oh sure, there will certainly be some buyers who might have stretched for a $500 iPad but will now happily choose a $200 Fire instead, but I doubt that the demand overlap is very consequential.

    On the other hand, if I were B&N, I'd be really worried about where the Nook fits in.
  • taltamir - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    "Web browsing on mobile devices is still largely CPU bound"
    Talking as someone who travels a lot for business, this is absolutely not the case. Most hotels and motels provide a very poor internet connection with ridiculously low speeds. Even airport wifi is often very very slow.
    Performance gains/slowdowns based on CPU speed that look impressive in my home with 25/25mbps fios become totally irrelevant when it takes minutes to load a page due to ISP being slow. And if whispersync compressess that 3MB jpg image to 50kb and looks indistinguishable on the kindle fire then it would be a wonderful thing for people on the move.
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Services like Silk are more about eliminating round trips than saving bandwidth, and it also saves CPU time by pre-processing and rendering this stuff.

    Silk sounds much like Opera's acceleration service, offloading chunks of the work to the cloud to ensure expensive processing and round-trips happen on a fast server, except much more sophisticated.
  • name99 - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - link

    taltamir is correct, and the statement in the article is foolish.

    This sort of things already exists today. People have mentioned Opera, but other ways of doing the same thing are to route URLs through either Google Reader or Instapaper. Both of these rewrite the page, remove all the extraneous crap, render JS on their proxy, etc, and give both a substantial speed boost to a page AND make it look better on a small screen. For example most blogs provide a column of content, along with one or two side columns of filler that are best stripped for small screens.
    The difference is really obvious for 3G, but it is noticeable even on home wifi because the CPU load has been transferred to a much powerful server --- all the mobile is doing is rendering a simple HTML page.

    Part of the issue is that "web page" is a vague concept. For some of us, our primary web pages are blogs and news sites, which tend to have a particular data and CPU profile, while for others of us, our primary web pages are things like Google Docs, or Facebook, which have very different profiles. Tools that work well for some people are useless for others --- but that doesn't mean the tool as a whole is useless, just that it is useless for that particular web page.

    Amazon has not mentioned this in their PR so far, presumably because they don't want to raise even more antagonism. But I would not be at all surprised to learn that, in time, they offer the same sort of functionality with Silk (likely on an opt-in basis) --- the ability to provide rewritten, reflowed pages, like Instapaper or Safari Reader, which can be delivered a lot faster to the device, AND, for many pages, provide a more usable experience.
  • Rick83 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Hardwarewise this sounds similar to the new Archos tablets, only with more lock-in and less Video playback capabilities and external ports.

    Why is there no mention of the Archos launch on Anandtech anyway?
    The device as usual is launching with some issues, but spec-wise it looks quite solid, and the HD-video playback is going to be unrivaled - and only the Kindle Fire will compete on cost.
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link

    Not sure which Archos you're referring to, their most impressive tablets, the G9, have been covered in Pipeline and we hope to get our hands on the 1.5 GHz variants when they're released next month. Is there another Archos tablet we haven't heard about that merits coverage?

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