With the cooling weather and Christmas vacation on the horizon, you have a good excuse to curl up somewhere warm with a good book. Except the notion of “a book” is rapidly changing.
With the latest iterations of its Kindle, Amazon is taking the whole paradigm of buying and reading books in a whole new direction. This month three new Kindles were added to the line up bringing the number of models to six in all, ranging from just $109 to $199 for the top-end Android powered tablet-like version.
Moreover Amazon is subsidising the cost of some Kindles with advertisements, making the low end version just $79! For that you get a 6-inch screen to read from, “Advanced E-Ink” display (which is easier on the eye than LCD displays) and built in wi-fi, allowing access to the 800,000 titles Amazon has on sale in its Kindle e-book store.
The so-called Kindle Keyboard, besides having a keyboard boasts a two month battery life, the ability to play back audiobooks and mp3s, capacity for over 3000 books and access to thousands of out of print and public domain books as well. Combine the advertisements option (unobtrusive ads that only appear on the screen saver) and the price goes from $139 to Just $99.
A veritable stocking stuffer!
But arguably the greatest development with the latest round of Kindle releases is that “Whispernet” – Amazon’s 3G mobile offering – now works around the world, including Korea! Now readers won’t have to be connected to The Internet via wi-fi to purchase and download content. With ads the 3G Kindle is $139, down from $189.
While all of these are available to Korea-based Amazon customers, Amazon warns that customers may be liable for taxes and duties upon shipping one into the country. (Christmas is also a good time to make friends with people who have APO mailing addresses!)
One Kindle you won’t be able to get in Korea in time for Christmas is Amazon’s “Kindle Fire” – a tablet based on the Android Operating System that eschews the conventions of the normally phone-bound operating system in favour of a bookshelf style interface, most befitting for a product from Amazon. Android devotees won’t be disappointed though, as along with copies of Steve Jobs’ Biography and the latest edition of The New York Times, access to Angry Birds and all your other favourite Android apps is still just a click away.
For $199 you get all of this, super fast Internet browsing through the Amazon Silk service and cloud storage for all your Amazon content including Amazon e-books, videos and mp3s.
The various Kindles are available from amazon.com/kindle.
[This article originally appeared in the December issue of 10 Magazine.]