The phenomenon that is the Kindle continues apace with the release of the US of the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. I bought a Kindle Touch on a recent trip and I like it very much. It’s a touch screen whereby the pages are turned by brushing or tapping the screen, font size is changed by ‘pinching’ and there is one physical button at the bottom to return you to your list of books. There is a wifi version or a more expensive wifi+3G, and I suspect the latter will prove very popular. The screen uses eInk and is still black and white but it is a nice step on from Kindle Keyboard.
The Kindle Fire is a slightly different beast. It seems to be marketed in the US as an eBook reader with apps for reason, but it is a tablet. It has an eReader but also music and video options, as well as games and other apps. It is slightly smaller than a standard Kindle and is very smooth to use. Crucially the price is very competitive, and by coming in a mere $199 it is setting itself up as an inexpensive competitor to the iPad. However, for my needs it wasn’t the right choice. I simply wanted an eBook reader with a long battery life. The Kindle Touch battery lasts at least a month with wifi off, while the Fire has a diminutive life of 8 hours due to its glossy colour screen and high resolution – this is why I say it’s a tablet rather an eBook reader. Another downside for me is that the Fire is backlit, making it harder to read in direct sunlight. Some people will argue that I can’t read my Touch in darkness, but I must confess that I have never needed to so I can’t see it being a problem.
So those are the two new offerings from Amazon which will (hopefully) be winging their way to the UK at some point. It is hard to compare the Kindle family with each other as Amazon have done a good job of giving each Kindle a different strength, so a new buyer just needs to think about what it is they need to do in order to identify the most appropriate product (eg do you want to mostly read books? Go for the Kindle basic or Touch. Do you want to mostly read newspapers or children’s books? Go for the Fire, etc). There is a nice little comparison here too – http://tinyurl.com/7mvudqh – for anyone who is still undecided about which Kindle they would go for given the chance.