Amazon traditionally holds press events for new product launches, but today they announced a new e-reader very quietly. The 6th generation Kindle has just been announced and can be thought of as the Paperwhite 2. It is available for pre-order right now from Amazon and Shop e-Readers.
The new Kindle Paperwhite does not deviate design-wise from the prior model and still maintains the six inch display screen with 212 ppi. Amazon has confirmed they are using a new front-light which should give you a brighter screen. The company claims that they have increased the page-turn speed by 25%, which should appeal to voracious readers. It also has 2 GB of internal memory and no expandable memory.
The big changes with the Paperwhite 2 are mainly software driven and now has GoodReads integration. On the main home screen is the G logo that allows users to have a customized e-Ink version of the social eBook website and aids in book discovery. Users can check out the books that are recently added to the system and rate/review books right on your e-reader.
Another big change is Page-Flip which allows you to jump across chapters and pages without losing the current place. This will certainly help if users are reading The Hobbit, for example, and want to jump to another page that has a map of Middle Earth.
Smart Look-up is yet another new feature, which integrates a full dictionary definition with other reference information about a word, character, topic or book via X-Ray and Wikipedia. For example, using an ordinary dictionary to look up “credit default swaps” in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short would give the individual definitions of “credit,” “default” and “swaps.” Smart Lookup recognizes this is an important topic and phrase in the book, and gives you the correct definition of “credit default swaps” via X-Ray.
Finally, two other new features are New In-line Footnotes, which with a single tap reads the complete text of each footnote in-line without changing the page or losing place in the book, and the new Kindle MatchBook, which allows customers to purchase Kindle editions of print books purchased from Amazon—past, present and future—for $2.99 or less.
It is very interesting that Amazon did not include this new e-Reader in their upcoming press conference. Likely it was to steal the thunder from Kobo, which has been dominating headlines on their new line of devices. There is still no word if the Paperwhite 1 will receive a firmware update that will bring most of these new software features into the older model.
The new Kindle Paperwhite is only $119. Kindle Paperwhite is available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.com and begins shipping September 30. The new top-of-the-line Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is only $189. Customers can sign up to be notified when Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is available for pre-order at www.amazon.com. Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is expected to ship November 5.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.