In case you haven't heard, Amazon announced the latest versions of its e-reader Kindle — the new Kindle Fire family with a bigger tablet and HD and the new Kindle Paperwhite. All release on Oct. 1.
I'm not usually one to buy the newest technology the moment it comes out — it's the bargain shopper in me — so I didn't buy the second-generation Kindle until it had been out almost a year and had dropped in price. So that's the one I've had since late 2009. The releases in 2010 and 2011 didn't excite me enough to buy.
When the fifth-generation device comes out, it might be time for an upgrade.
“Paperwhite is the Kindle we've always wanted to build — the technology didn't exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO, in a news release. “Sixty-two percent more pixels, 25 percent higher contrast, built-in front light, perfect for bed, perfect for beach, even thinner, eight weeks of battery life — this is a quantum leap forward and the best Kindle we've ever built by far.”
The new features — pure white screen, font selections, Time to Read, built-in lighting — make me excited about a new Kindle again.
I think I might be most excited about Time to Read, a feature “that helps readers know the amount of time it will take them to finish a chapter or a book. … It personalizes the time for each customer based on their reading speed and is constantly updated as the reader's speed and habits change,” according to the release. I'm a little behind with my 30 books by 30 project, so this would helpful and motivating.
The built-in light is a front-lit display — instead of the backlit screen of tablets and smartphones — and “guides light underneath an anti-glare layer and down toward the display, away from the reader's eyes,” according to the release. Personally, backlit screens might be pretty, but do cause me eye strain after reading on them. My eyes never get tired with the e-ink display.
The new bright, white display is beautiful. Right now, the screen reminds me of dark newsprint or an old book, so the contrast could be crisp and fresh.
What holds me back from putting in my order? Now that Kindles are for sale at big-box stores, I can play with one first. I'm not sure I'm sold on the touch screen and its usability. And just how white is the screen? Does the light really not create glare?
If I'm going to drop $179 — because I will only buy the Kindle with the 3G wireless connection; the Wi-Fi version starts at $119 — to buy a fancy new e-reader, I'm going to touch it and push all the buttons.
Plus, I do love my fancy leather Oberon Design cover. They cost about $75, so I'd also want a new one of those. That's nearly $250 to upgrade.
But I really do want to know how fast I read.
Maybe I'll buy it for my birthday. It's only 164 days away.