Amazon Unveils Wireless Kindle E-Book Reader

PC World
Monday, November 19, 2007; 3:19 PM

NEW YORK -- Amazon today announced its long-anticipated wireless Kindle e-book reader.

The Kindle,Amazon's first foray into making its own hardware, weighs 10.3 ounces, can contain up to 200 books, has a keyboard, and uses electronic ink display technology. It is on sale today at Amazon.com.

Kindle isn't the first e-book reader. Sony launched its $350Sony Readerearlier this year (currently, this model is being sold for $280 at SonyStyle.com).Motricitysells e-book reader software for use with Windows Mobile and Palm devices.

At a splashy event here, Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, unveiled the device by starting with a history of printing, from the early days of stones and papyrus onwards. Gutenberg might recognize printed books in their current form today, but he'd be unlikely to recognize Amazon's vision of the future of reading as embodied by the Kindle e-book reader. The device is on sale now atamazon.com.

Three years in the making, the Kindle derives its name from the concept of the device "kindling" people's interest in reading.

In coming up with the device, says Bezos, "We knew we would never out-book the book. We knew we would have to take some of the capabilities of modern technology and do some things that the book can't do."

Kindle operates without ever connecting to a PC. Instead, the device can download books--any of 90,000 at launch--directly via the built-in EvDO radio connection to Amazon's new Whispernet service.

Books take less than a minute to download, and their price varies, but new releases and New York Times bestsellers cost $9.99.

The service runs on the Sprint EvDO network; it carries no service charges or contracts--that's all covered in the background by Amazon.

In addition to books, Kindle can automatically download newspapers and blogs, in a return of "push" technology. The device also has a dictionary and Wikipedia access.

The Kindle service also includes newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Publications that you subscribe to are delivered directly to the device. Choices include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, Time, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, Le Monde, and Slate.

More than 300 of the most popular blogs with their full content also are available. You subscribe to the blogs you want, and they're updated throughout the day.


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