Facing steep competition from Apple’s iPad, which can do just about everything a computer can in addition to displaying books, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has decided to evolve the latest Kindle into an even better single-purpose device for less than the cost of an iPod. The new Kindle is an improvement in just about every single way: It is sleeker, lighter, faster while also offering better contrast, more storage and up to one month of battery life on a single charge. The device comes equipped with Wi-Fi and free 3G service for $189 and will be available August 27. The Kindle Wi-Fi-only option will cost $139.
The new Kindle line-up piggy-backs on a number of recent Amazon accomplishments. Amazon said over the past 12 months, customers spent more than $1 billion via mobile devices, including sales by Kindle. Yesterday, it was reported that the Kindle was sold-out, and Stieg Larsson, the author of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” became the first author to sell more than 1 million Kindle E-books.
An unspecified “millions” of people have already purchased a Kindle, making it the No. 1 bestselling item on Amazon.com for two years running. But with improved technology, and a lower price point, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said he’s hoping that “many people are going to buy multiple units for the home and family.” Amazon’s new price points are nearing lows in the e-reader world. Last month, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) lowered the price of its 3G Nook to $199 and its WiFi version to $149. For comparison, a the lowest end iPad and iPod Touch cost $500 and $200, respectively.
The two devices are available for pre-order at www.amazon.com/kindle3G and www.amazon.com/kindleWi-Fi starting tomorrow when the announcement is officially made. It will be available to customers in more than 140 countries on August 27. (Press release via Engadget.)