Cloud // Cloud Storage
News
7/29/2010
02:59 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Amazon Launches $139 Wi-Fi Kindle

The Wi-Fi only electronic reader and a $189 third generation model of the original Kindle with Wi-Fi and 3G are Amazon's latest bid to spur digital book sales.

Amazon has launched a $139 Wi-Fi-only Kindle, hoping to stay ahead of competitors by luring customers with low-priced e-readers that the online retail is betting will drive digital book sales.

Amazon on Thursday also introduced the third generation of the original Kindle, which has Wi-Fi and 3G wireless technologies. The latter makes it possible to buy digital books from Amazon and download them in less than a minute. Amazon kept the price for the device at $189.

Both Kindles are about $10 less than comparable e-readers from rivals Barnes & Noble, Borders and about $30 less than Sony's device, excluding the $25 e-book gift card Sony gives with each purchase.

Besides lower prices, the latest Kindles have several improvements over previous generations. While the size of the screen remains six inches diagonally, the display is based on manufacturer E Ink's latest technology, which offers a contrast ratio about 50% greater. While the screen only displays black-and-white, its high resolution makes it possible to read text even in direct sunlight, an advantage over the LCD displays used in Apple's iPad and smartphones.

In addition, Amazon has made the Kindle 21% smaller through a sleeker design and has reduced the weight by 15% to 8.7 ounces. The latest models have a battery life of a month and twice the storage, which is enough to carry up to 3,500 digital books.

While Amazon has prepped the latest Kindles as stiffer competitors, the retailer won't be able to start shipping the e-readers until Aug. 27. Amazon suspended shipments on Wednesday, but is taking pre-orders.

Nevertheless, Amazon is making the Kindle available in time for the back-to-school shopping season. The retailer is also pressuring competitors to lower prices, as the industry moves closer to offering devices possible as low as under $100, which analysts say would be low enough to be a compulsive buy for consumers.

Amazon's latest releases reflect an industry shift toward making money on the sales of e-books instead of the e-readers, since the lower prices are meant to get the devices in the hands of potential book buyers.

This strategy is apparently working for Amazon. the company this month announced that unit sales of e-books surpassed that of hardcover books. On Wednesday, Amazon said Swedish author Stieg Larsson has become the first writer to sell more than 1 million digital books on Amazon. Larsson is the author of the bestselling "Millennium Trilogy."

The growth rate of e-books sales for Amazon has been impressive, given that digital books overtook hardcover books in less than three years. Amazon has been selling hardcover books for 15 years.

However, competition could get tougher, not just from other e-readers, but also from the emerging category of tablet-style computers, such as the iPad. While the Apple computer starts at more than $300 more than the cheapest Kindle, it does considerably more besides acting as an e-reader. The device also surfs the Web, accesses e-mail and plays video, music and games.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 24, 2014
Start improving branch office support by tapping public and private cloud resources to boost performance, increase worker productivity, and cut costs.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.