At the beginning of the month, Amazon unveiled the 3rd generation of the Kindle DX which was now ensconced in a Graphite colored shell, provided a better contrast ratio, and faster refresh times. This all but guaranteed we would be seeing the Kindle 3 shortly. Yesterday, it was noticed that the Kindle 2 was out of stock, for probably the first time since they started selling them, which caused a few to wonder if the Kindle 3 was nigh. Well, nigh it was and today we have the option of pre-ordering a brand new Kindle 3 (or possibly “Kindle 2, 3rd Generation”, but we like Kindle 3 better).
Unlike the DX, the Kindle 3 will still be available in the classic white along with the new graphite.
According to Amazon here’s the benefits of the new model, along with my thoughts:
- 21% smaller body, same 6″ reading area — Nice to have, better fit into pockets, although this means my existing case won’t work for it
- 15% lighter — Wasn’t very heavy to begin with
- 50% improved screen contrast — This and the next item will help enhance readability
- Crisper, darker fonts
- Double the storage — The Kindle 2 had 2 GB of storage (well 1.5 GB really). I wasn’t in danger of filling it up, but I do know some who had, definitely a plus.
- Faster, quieter page turns — Faster page refresh is great, this means that the eInk technology is continuing to get better. Quieter probably has to do with changes to the buttons.
- Built-in Wi-Fi — Woohoo! Wi-Fi is something that many people have been asking for, especially those who live somewhere that cell reception is… spotty at best, and/or where 3G coverage is a joke.
- Enhanced PDF reader — The last firmware update added support for a PDF reader, but it still seemed to show a full page on the 6″ screen. I’m eager to see what this will look like.
- Soft-touch textured back
- New WebKit-based browser — I’ve never had too many problems with the existing browser, but I don’t use it that much.
- Voice Guide read-to-me menus — I don’t have the Kindle read to me, but if you do, then I guess this is a great new feature.
Along with all these spiffy new features, Amazon has released a new model, the Kindle 3 Wi-Fi only. I’m not particularly interested in a Wi-Fi only model, and since the price difference is only $50… I wouldn’t particularly recommend it over the full 3G model. The way I see it, you are paying $50 more to be able to get new books (and possibly more importantly, have internet access) wherever you have a cell signal. However, given that it is starting out at $139, once they start having refurbs we will see a Kindle under the mystical $100 price point. And given that woot.com is now owned by Amazon, I would be willing to bet we will see them with it first. You will have to act quick, since the $149 kindle sale lasted less than 8.5 Hours before they sold out.
Now to the burning question: Should existing Kindle owners upgrade and/or is now the time to finally get a Kindle?
If you don’t already have a Kindle, then yes, you should be buying a Kindle 3. Of course, I am biased and think everyone should have a kindle. Jon and I both love our kindles and have no qualms about espousing our delights.
As for upgrades… it really depends on your situation. If you are a Kindle 1 user or someone who is constantly having to shuffle books around, you might want to make the move. On the other hand, if you have the Kindle 2 (either USA or International version), and aren’t having space issues, you might not need to make the move.
Jon has already preordered the new kindle, along with the spiffy new case which has a light that actually draws power from the Kindle. I am still slightly on the fence about it all, but I will probably be giving in; it looks like a nice set of improvements I must say.
Lastly, I looked over an old post Jon wrote Wishlist for a “Kindle 3”. The only item from Jon’s list that made it was “Better sorting/folders”, but that was added in a firmware release earlier this year. The “Crisper, darker fonts” might be indicative of a “Higher DPI screen (200-300 DPI)”, but we’ll have to wait and see about that.