Amazon lights up US$119 Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon introduced its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader overnight, showcasing the device's lighted screen and lengthy battery life at an event in Santa Monica, California.

The Kindle Paperwhite.
(Credit: Amazon)

With more contrast and brightness than found on previous Kindles, the Paperwhite has a resolution of 212 pixels per inch (62 per cent higher in resolution than the current Kindle, and on a par with the upcoming Kobo Glo). It also boasts eight weeks of battery life with the light on at half brightness (based on 30 minutes of use a day, with Wi-Fi switched off) — twice the longevity of the Nook Glowlight, CEO Jeff Bezos said at the event. The Kindle Paperwhite is 9.1mm thick and weighs 222 grams. It's "thinner than a magazine, and lighter than a paperback," Bezos said.

The device will cost US$119 for the special offers version, US$139 for the ad-free version and will ship 1 October in the US. A 3G version will be available for US$179 for special offers and US$199 for ad-free. A US$69 entry-level Kindle with special offers, $10 cheaper than the previous edition, will be available 14 September; that version will be only available in the US, but the US$89 ad-free version will be coming to Australia.

(Credit: CNET)

The light guide on the device represents four years of research and development work at Amazon, according to Bezos, who said that the Paperwhite has 25 per cent more contrast than current Kindles.

The Paperwhite offers a capacitive touchscreen, rather than the IR-based touchscreen found on competing touchscreen models from Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. The technology dates back to Amazon's 2009 acquisition of a multi-touch hardware company called Touchco, which got tasked with developing a capacitive touchscreen for Amazon's E Ink e-readers.

The software includes a feature that calculates how much time, not just pages, is needed to finish the book, based on a reader's individual habits.

There is no word from Amazon when, or even if, the Paperwhite will be available in Australia.


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