In what may go down as probably one of the quietest launch for one of the most must-have products, Amazon has launched an awesome successor to it’s insanely great eBook Reader Kindle Paperwhite. The successor is called Kindle Voyage and is a great great extension to the Kindle family. Along with Kindle , Amazon has also launched an entry price touchscreen Kindle, which is now the Kindle base model.
The new Kindle and Kindle Voyage are both available for pre-order now and will ship this October.
Amazon’s new devices cater to the highest, lowest as well as mid-tier ends of the market. Kindle comes at a price for $79; Kindle Paperwhite is available for $199 and Kindle Voyage is available for $199. Versions of the same without the special offers cost a $20 extra in each category and the 3G versions are available in the later categories for an extra 90 bucks.
At a private press presentation on September 17, Amazon called the Kindle Voyage “the most advanced e-reader we know how to build right now.” The Voyage weighs 6.4 ounces and is “the thinnest product that Amazon’s ever built” at 7.6 mm thick, the company said. It has been a yearly tradition now that in September, Amazon launches new versions of Kindle. This year, there had been almost no news yet except for a confirmation from Amazon that the storage capacity in the Kindle devices has been doubled – they can now hold 2000 books.
With Kindle Voyage, it should come as no surprise that Amazon is still innovating. The new 6-inch Kindle Voyage is Amazon’s slimmest Kindle yet, and it boasts the next version of the company’s Paperwhite display technology, with super-crisp 300 pixels-per-inch text, and images that look sharp as well. Kindle Paperwhite in comparison has 212 ppi. In a brief hands-on demo, page-turns were swift.
To say text and images were “crisp” would be an understatement. Simply put, Kindle Voyage has the best screen we’ve ever seen on an e-reader.
Kindle Voyage also has the new and alternative page-turning method which turns the page when you gently squeeze the bezel (on either edge). It marks the return of page-turn buttons, which sadly went away in the Kindle Touch models. Underneath the bezel is a force sensor that can trigger “PagePress” — Amazon’s fancy way of describing turning the page without touching the screen. You can still swipe if you want, but as any of you who read while standing on a bus or train know, one-handed swiping can be difficult. A small, vibrating motor even provides some haptic feedback to let you know you’ve turned the page (in case you couldn’t figure it out by looking at the screen).
There is a sensor located beneath the bezel. One other new feature is likely to appeal to people learning English is called Word Wise. Simple short definitions of challenging words appear in the e-book you are reading, just above those difficult words. This is likely to appeal to those learning English, especially those who have English as their second language.
You can drag a slider at the bottom of the display to adjust just how many of these word “hints” appear in a book, based on your reading level. You can also make them go away altogether. You’ll still have the ability to tap on a word for a fuller dictionary-type definition or to see definitions in different contexts.
Last but not the least – Looks! Voyager is small, rectangular and is powered by the crisp, beautiful E Ink technology so many of us have fallen in love with. The screen is flush with the body — there’s no raised bezel here and the materials are decidedly more luxurious. The shell is made of a gorgeous matte magnesium that would feel at home on Lenovo’s top-of-the-line ThinkPads, while the front is a chemically hardened glass. That plate of glass is also micro-etched, which pretty much eliminates glare and lends a pleasing texture to the device. Amazon likes to say it feels like paper and, while that’s a bit of a stretch, the company isn’t completely off base.
All of the new software features will be making their way to the refreshed Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite as well. The Paperwhite is getting only the mildest of upgrades — going from 2GB to 4GB of storage. The truly budget $79 Kindle, on the other hand, is getting a relatively significant revamp. The new design, other than its bulky body, is almost indistinguishable from the Paperwhite. The navigation buttons are all gone and the interface has gone all-touch. You also get a much beefier processor and twice the storage as before.
Both the Kindle Voyage and the new Kindle will start shipping in October and are available for pre-order today. Now all Amazon has to do is convince someone that any e-reader, even one as lovely as the Voyage, is worth $200. At $199, Kindle Voyage doesn’t come cheap. But it sure is hell of a product, if you wish to experience the “new Paperwhite.”