As expected Amazon announced new Kindle models today. The existing e-ink devices have been updated, with both models losing the physical keyboard and one of them gaining a touchscreen. As before, these models use a greyscale e-ink display and are designed specifically for reading. However, the new Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet device intended for reading, web browsing, game playing, music and more. Amazon clearly want some of the iPad market with this one, and the low price indicates they hope to sell millions and recoup their costs through content sales. However, I think there’s plenty of room for both Amazon and Apple. The direct competition is Barnes & Noble, and companies such as Samsung and RIM who tried to copy the iPad but couldn’t match it on cost, design, ease of use and content availability. (Of course, this is just me thinking out loud and I might change my mind when I get hold of a Kindle Fire. Just what you need, eh? Another blog with unqualified, unverified speculation on a product that isn’t available yet.)
Oddly, the new Kindle models don’t appear to support the EPUB format. This is the standard file format for ebooks and there were hopes Amazon would switch to it, but they seem to be sticking with AZW/MOBI.
The new Kindles aren’t on sale yet, and at the moment you can only pre-order in the US. (Update: the non-touchscreen Kindle is available for pre-order in the UK now.)
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