The Kindle Family and the Kindle Fire

Pardon the pun, but Amazon is on fire. Amazon’s tablet, the Kindle Fire, is coming soon, and the site recently released the Kindle Family, three all-new e-readers that are “smaller, lighter, and more affordable than ever before.”

The latest generation Kindle is the most compact Amazon e-reader yet. Claiming to be “pocket sized,” the new gen is lighter, the casing is smaller (though the screen is still 6 inches), and it flips pages 10% faster. The Kindle Touch is the e-reader without the oh-so-cumbersome buttons–I actually love the page-turn buttons and keyboard on my third gen Kindle, but techies will surely love this new feature–as well a smaller, lighter design. The Touch also has the new X-Ray technology, which “lets customers explore the “bones of the book.” With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions….” THAT is incredibly useful, especially for students (like me) who use their e-readers for required reading; it’s like having an annotated copy of the book alongside yours. Add 3G (and 50 bucks), and you have free Internet on the go.

With this pricing, it’ll be tempting to buy everyone a Kindle for holidays:

Latest generation Kindle – $79
Kindle Touch – $99 (November 21)
Kindle Touch 3G with free 3G – $149
Kindle Fire – $199 (November 15)

The Kindle Fire, however, is the e-reader on steroids. Not only is the reader full color, but it also offers Fire users Amazon’s secret club of digital content: over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, over 17,000,000 songs for purchase from Amazon MP3, Kindle e-books, graphic novels, hundreds of magazines, and popular Android apps, all running on the innovative and powerful Amazon Silk. With the Kindle Fire, I would miss easy-to-read the graphite screen in the other Kindles, but all of the extra features are impressive. One of each would be ideal, I suppose…

Lowering the prices of new Kindles and upping their game with the Kindle Fire was a smart move on Amazon’s part, especially with the rapidly-growing popularity of tablets.



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