Hot on the thin, ergonomic heel of the Kindle Oasis comes a lighter, thinner Amazon Kindle. That's right, an update to the regular, vanilla Kindle. Don't worry, though. At $79.99, it remains the least expensive ebook reader in Amazon's lineup.
So, what's new? Well, it's got twice the amount of memory (512MB of RAM) compared with the previous-generation device. It will also be available in two color options, black or white, and sport a more rounded design, so it's easier to hold in one hand during long reading sessions (like the new E.L. James book Grey, no doubt). The more comfortable grip is likely a cue taken from Kindle's ultra-comfy, ultra-pricey cousin, the Kindle Oasis.
You get the same e-ink screen as the previous version, which isn't a bad thing. Once we get a review unit of the new Kindle we'll see how it stacks up against the Kindle Paperwhite, our Editors' Choice for ebook readers that uses a 300-pixel-per-inch screen for dark, sharp text.
As for battery life, the new Kindle will last for weeks, according to Amazon, which is pretty normal for an ebook reader. That estimate, however, is based on 30 to 45 minutes of reading or so per day, so your mileage may vary. The longest battery life we've seen goes to the Kindle Oasis; its fancy dual-battery design and leather charging cover provided up to nine weeks of battery life.
There are some new reading features as well, including an option to export notes and highlights you make while reading an ebook to your email, so you can easily refer to them when your Kindle is not within reach. You can also export them as printable PDF or spreadsheet files.
Bluetooth audio support is included out of the box, so visually impaired readers can use VoiceView to listen with the text-to-speech functionality and turn pages. Previously, Kindle users had to use an audio adapter that plugs into the charging jack to enable the feature. Now, just pair a reader with Bluetooth headphones or a speaker.
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Additionally, the new Kindle will add Chinese support for the Word Wise feature, which allows readers to view definitions of words as they read. The home screen will also be customizable, with an updated user interface that will allow you to manage lists and view book recommendations.
The new Kindle is available for pre-order now and will be available soon.
In addition, the Kindle Paperwhite is now available in a new white color option.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify that memory was doubled, not internal storage.
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