Amazon clearly has faith there is a market for dedicated e-readers, considering today’s release of the new Kindle Paperwhite. This is the sixth generation of the original E Ink e-reader, and the newest model features a faster processor and a new display that should offer higher contrast. Pre-0rders start today for $119, with devices expected to ship by the end of September.
“Kindle is the best-selling e-reader in the world for six years running,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO in a press release. “No one is investing on behalf of readers or pushing the boundaries of hardware, software and content for readers like this team.”
In addition to a CPU that’s reportedly 25 percent faster, and a new touchscreen technology that should be 19 percent more responsive, Amazon has introduced a host of new software features. Kindle Page Flip allows readers the skim pages, chapters or whole books without losing their place. The Vocabulary Builder is an interesting teaching tool that allows readers to compile their own vocabulary lists that can be turned into flashcards. The Kindle MatchBook feature, announced earlier today, lets customers buy Kindle editions of print books for $2.99 or less.
One new feature we’re most excited about is the Goodreads integration. By combining the world’s largest e-reading community with Amazon, readers can more readily tap into what more than 20 million other people are reading and highlighting. Plus, we’re happy to see Amazon extend it’s parental controls — Kindle FreeTime — to the e-reader lineup. This new and improved FreeTime will allow parents to select what books your child should read, offer them achievement badges for reading milestones, and the Kindle will send parents a progress report. According to Amazon, both these two features will not roll out until later this year in the form of a free software upgrade.
In terms of specs, the all-new Kindle Paperwhite weighs in and 7.3 ounces, which is 0.5 ounces less than the previous generation device. The battery should still last for about 2 months, the bright backlight is still included and Kindle devotees will still enjoy built-in Wi-Fi and free 3G.
Amazon also offers an enormous selection of more than 400,000 e-books, with more than a million costing $4.99 or less. Amazon Prime members will also still enjoy access to the Owners’ Lending Library, which allows you to borrow a book for free for a month with no due date. Stay tuned for our review to come soon.