Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to the stage today in Santa Monica to reveal several new devices, including an all-new Kindle e-reader, dubbed the “Kindle Paperwhite.” The e-reader sports several upgrades over other Kindle models, such as a new built-in illumination system, capacitive touchscreen and significantly improved screen resolution.
The Kindle Paperwhite measures 170 x 116 x 9 mm (6.7 x 4.6 x 0.36 inches) and the 3G model weighs in at 222 g (7.8 oz), while the WiFi-only version is 212 g (7.5 oz). The main advantages of the new device over its immediate predecessors chiefly concern its 6-inch screen. It is significantly sharper than before and boasts an increase in contrast of 25 percent and 62 percent more pixels, up to 212 pixels-per-inch (PPI) from 167 PPI on previous Kindle models.
The device sports no buttons on the front, relying instead on a two-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, which is a departure from the infrared touchscreen technology utilized by the Kindle Touch.
The Paperwhite’s screen illumination technology is said to be the product of four years research and development at Amazon, and comprises four low-power LEDs to shine light toward the screen from above, rather than behind, thus reportedly resulting in no eye-strain. Brightness levels are controlled via a screen swipe. Amazon rates the battery life as up to eight weeks even with the screen illumination activated, though this is based on an average of a half-hour of reading per day.
The device contains 2 GB of internal memory and includes some new software features, such as Time to Read, which uses your reading speed to inform you when you’ll finish your chapter. It also features newly updated fonts which have been redesigned to make the most of the additional screen resolution now available.
Also announced alongside the Kindle Paperwhite is the news that Amazon is dropping the price of its budget model Kindle to US$69 while also adding modest upgrades, in the shape of an increase in available fonts and faster page turning.
The Kindle Paperwhite is available in the U.S. on October 1st at a price of US$119 for the WiFi-only version, or $179 for the 3G-equipped version. It can be pre-ordered immediately, while the $69 Kindle is available now. Both the Kindle Paperwhite and budget Kindle are said to be available in 100 countries worldwide, though it’s not yet clear if the U.S. release dates will apply elsewhere.