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Surprise! Amazon Launches Large-Screen Kindle

angle_airplane-engineAmazon (s AMZN) today unveiled a large-screen version of its Kindle e-reader, fulfilling the predictions of hundreds of tech bloggers. The Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch electronic paper display, a built-in PDF reader, an auto-rotate capability like that of the iPhone, the same 3G wireless technology as the old Kindle, and storage for up to 3,500 books. It will cost $489 ($130 more than the smaller Kindle) and will ship this summer.

In a twist on the cell phone-subsidized equipment model, the Washington Post Co. and The New York Times Co. will subsidize the cost of a Kindle DX for readers who live in areas where they can’t get home delivery of a paper, and who sign up for a long-term subscription. There are no details on the subsidy amount, nor the length of a subscription contract expected under such a deal, but at $13.99 a month for the Times, it looks like a play to keep subscriber numbers up rather than a way to ensure a lot of subscription revenue.

Other notable Kindle DX facts are that Amazon has put together a deal with textbook publishers and universities to trial the gadget for the education market, and the inclusion of a PDF reader makes it useful for business users who can now send, receive and read PDF documents on the e-reader.

flatSo what else is there to say? Well, by announcing a larger and more expensive version of the e-Reader, Amazon now has positioned its original Kindle as a veritable bargain, which may result in folks choosing to give it a whirl. Pricing is funny that way.

As a kid, I used to make it my mission to discover all of my Christmas presents in the weeks before the holiday. I felt an illicit thrill each time I discovered one and carefully put it back, but on the day itself it was kind of letdown to open them. That’s kind of how this announcement feels, given that we’ve already seen photos, analyzed what the large-screen reader could mean for the newspaper industry, and written about e-reader technology.

11 Responses to “Surprise! Amazon Launches Large-Screen Kindle”

  1. What’s not to like? No missing paper on travel, no wet papers to dry out, no missing paper when at weekend home, etc. I used to carry 40 lbs of books when traveling, now I can carry just this device. I love my Kindle2 and will likely buy this one if they let me get paper on both for one subscription. That way I can choose form factor based on my situation at the moment.

  2. I love my Kindle and will gladly buy this one too, I LOVE it. the e-ink is easy on the eyes, no papers to recycle, I can buy a book anytime anywhere, and preview a chapter free. what’s not to love? you can also email on it, display photos in grayscale, listen to music while reading, browse websites, TWITTER from it, and there are NO MONTHLY FEES for this access. No one realizes that….you paid for connectivity up front. it’s a perfect travel device.

  3. Antony

    I think somebody at Amazon is waking up soon enough to catch up with the demand of technology. As far as the progress goes, I think Amazon deserves some praises. Pesonally, I believe there are still rooms for some improvements, even at this stage. The kindle could be more sleek if the bezel is thinner and allow more room for bigger screen. I’m not too much for color screen. If I really want a color screen mind as well getting a netbook!? But with the speed of technology and the “plasti-screen” of OLED in the process of commercial production, we could be holding a flexible-paper-like kindle with touch screen keyboard in just a few years.

  4. I think they will just keep churning out these updates until we see the colour screens that people want. I reckon that is the point where the established hardware manufacturers will come in and produce superior machines. Amazon will revert to selling books in the right format because they already have the back catalogue of compatible material and everyone will be happy. Amazon have “Kindled” the ebook industry.

  5. Everyone wants to cry about the price, but it’s silly. First, you can buy the cheaper Kindle as Stacey points out. Second, let’s put it into perspective. I went to college in 1979, having just shelled out $350 for an HP-41C calculator. Lots of kids did the same.

    Let’s do the math. That $350 was over $1000 in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. Meanwhile, 1979 was a time when kids didn’t have multiple game consoles, iPods, notebook computers, and all the rest that our kids have today.

    I’d much rather have the new Kindle than an HP-41C if I had it to do over again!

    More on my blog:

  6. bsmcconnell

    $500 is a bit steep, but keep in mind that in 2010, the equivalent version will be $200, or probably less or free if its part of a bundle, like a NY Times subscription, while full color models will be making their debut. As I pointed out in my post yesterday, don’t write the newspapers off as dead. They’ll probably get rid of the ‘paper’ part pretty soon. If they figure out how to package their content in a form that people will pay for it (Kindle etc are on the right track here), and figure out how to apply display/merchandising ads to the web, they’ll recover. It is in everybody’s interest for them to figure this out. If all that’s left after they die is the “volunteer economy” of the blogosphere, everybody loses.

  7. I’m glad that Amazon is making progress, but some of these subscriptions and eBook prices are ridiculous. I am relieved to see that it supports PDFs now. I’ve been meaning to purchase one for a while, but they’re still too expensive. I’d pay $200 max – at least nowadays, anyway.

  8. I’m glad that Amazon is making progress, but some of these subscriptions and eBook prices are ridiculous. I am relieved to see that it supports PDFs now. I’ve been meaning to purchase one for a while, but they’re still too expensive. I’d pay $200 max – at least nowadays, anyway.