Amazon.com announced a new, updated version of its large-screen Kindle DX e-reader. While the original 6-inch Kindle has undergone price cuts in recent weeks, the Kindle DX had remained untouched--but increased e-books competition from the Apple iPad may have poked Amazon to release the new DX.
Amazon.com is announcing a new, cheaper version of the
Kindle DX, its large-screen e-reader, in a bid to remain competitive against
both rival devices and Apple's iPad. Despite slashing the price of the original
Kindle, and increasing the supported devices for its Kindle software, Amazon
had left the Kindle DX relatively untouched until now.
That's because, until this point, the market for
larger-screen e-readers remained relatively uncompetitive. While the original
Kindle, with its 6-inch screen, found itself battling similar form-factors in
Barnes & Noble's Nook-not to mention a sizable number of offerings from
smaller competitors-the only devices to potentially challenge the Kindle DX
remained firmly in development hell.
That was before the release of the Apple iPad, which also
features a 9.7-inch screen and a robust selection of reading matter through its
iBookstore. With more than 3 million units sold, the iPad presents a
substantial competitive threat to the other players in the e-reader market,
likely leading to the latter devices' price cuts over the past few weeks. Now,
it seems, Amazon has gotten around to executing a similar revamp for the Kindle
In addition to a new slate-gray color for the outer shell,
and a global 3G connection for downloading e-books, the newest version of the
Kindle DX costs $379, versus $489 for the old version. Amazon also claims
improvements to the e-ink screen, "with 50 percent better contrast for the
clearest text and sharpest images." The new Kindle DX will ship starting July
The retailer also seemed to take a few backhand swipes at
the iPad, or even tablet PCs in general.
"Unlike most electronic devices, we wanted to keep the
Kindle simple," reads
a note on Amazon's Kindle DX page
. "Kindle DX is wireless and ready to use
right out of the box-no setup, no cables, no software to install, no computer
Ever since the Kindle DX's release in 2009, Amazon has
attempted to cast the device as wildly versatile, highlighting its ability to
display professional documents, via a built-in PDF reader, in addition to
traditional e-books. At the time, this seemed a countermove to smaller manufacturers
attempting to leverage the business market as a potential niche for their own
e-readers; but in the wake of this January's Consumer Electronics Show, where
many of those companies showed off their devices as the way of the future,
those e-readers have yet to make a marketplace appearance. Instead, the iPad
became Amazon's primary threat, along with Barnes & Noble's Nook.
In addition to e-books, Amazon is also offering up a broad
selection of newspapers, blogs and other e-periodicals as Kindle DX material.
Besides the iPad and Nook, the Kindle will face increased competition this
summer from Google Editions, the search engine's own attempt to make e-books
available through any browser or Web-enabled device, such
as laptops and tablet PCs.
That places Google in direct competition with
the Kindle e-reader software, which is available for PCs, and a variety of mobile
devices including the iPad and Google Android smartphones.