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Amazon intros Kindle: the "iPod of reading"

updated 06:30 pm EST, Sun November 18, 2007

Amazon Kindle

NewsWeek today provided the first look at the Amazon Kindle (link to be active soon), the company's first eBook reader and self-made electronics of any kind. As suggested by numerous leaks, the reader is designed as the first eBook reader to be in constant contact with the Internet. A new network service, dubbed Whispernet, will let the device reach a new Amazon eBook store to buy books as well as subscribe to digital versions of the New York Times and other newspapers as well as magazines; unlike past readers, this will be accessible not just from a local hotspot over Wi-Fi but a special connection through Sprint's EVDO cellular access in the US. This will let readers keep track of the latest books even on vacation and is intended by Amazon to be the "iPod of reading," according to NewsWeek.

The Kindle is designed to approach the thickness and size of slimmer paperback novels with a 6-inch "digital paper" screen and includes a keyboard for users to both search a book or the Amazon store, add notes to books, or visit websites both independently or linked from within content. Text and audiobooks are stored on built-in flash memory that holds about 200 titles and is expandable with an unspecified removable memory card format. The nature of the display, which only draws power when updating pages, allows it to work for up to 30 hours on a small battery and charge in less than two hours.

Amazon says it is already shipping the Kindle and will make the reader available this week for a price of $399. It should be accompanied on launch by about 88,000 books as well as subscription publications; new books and bestsellers will be offered for $10 each but can reach as low as $2 for classics and other back catalog titles, the company notes. Magazine and newspaper rates are unknown but are expected to equal or undercut traditional paper copies in price. No indication has been given of the cost of Whispernet access or of operating system support for directly transferring content from a computer.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. DarylF2

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    Great idea, but HIDEOUS form. What an ugly device... Maybe they should have had Apple design it?

    What is up with the bizarre chicket keyboard? Why does an eBook reader need a keyboard at all?

  1. scotty321

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    yeah, right

    Um yeah, someone wake me when people actually want digital eBook readers.

  1. christhechris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    it is Ugly

    They should have teamed with Sony (they have a very nice looking reader). With Amazons book collection it would have actually been the iPod of books...frankly this thing is not...

  1. Okonomiyaki

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2003


    Maybe the Zune of reading

    The sony does have a better form factor but unfortunately, it's by sony and they can't do anything right anymore. Maybe this is a better choice:

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    great format...

    another private format, with unknown drm. Just what the future needs !

  1. automorrow

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2000


    What a loozer ..

    Please .. DOA before it hurts someones feelings this holiday season.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: Nov 2006


    nothing beats paper back

    I still don't understand the demand for this. For paper based book, I can toss it anyway without worrying about damaging. I don't have to make sure my paper book is being fully charged so that I can finish the book. And I can pick up my paper book and hit a fly if I want it to... now try that with this digital reader.

  1. wr11

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Feb 2001


    Audio Book

    I'm not sure e-paper is the future. I think that digital audio books are winning out and offer a richer reading experience than text written on a digital page.

  1. jasong

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2000



    An audio book is a richer reading experience? You'll have to forgive my ignorance since I don't do audio books, but how much reading is being done while listening to an audio book, excluding the recording artist?

  1. DocZ

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004


    let's see

    If I can throw this device heedlessly into a corner, read it in the bathtub, bend it, , it costs less than 20$, and it doesn't need any batteries or power supply either, then I might give it a try.

    (Not that I want to treat my books badly, but I guess you get my point: eReaders are just c***.)

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