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Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 07:35 am PT (10:35 am ET)

Amazon's new $79 Kindle, $99 Kindle Touch stick with e-ink display

Achieving an attractive sub-$100 price point, Amazon's new $79 Kindle and $99 Kindle Touch still sport e-ink displays for reading books and other content, while ditching the physical keyboard found on previous models.

The $79 Kindle with "special offers" is available today, and features a simpler design than previous models, which featured a full hardware keyboard for text input. The new model maintains a directional pad and buttons for page turning. An ad-free version of the Kindle costs $109.

Amazon also unveiled a $99 Wi-Fi Kindle Touch, also featuring a black-and-white e-ink display that is touch-sensitive. The Kindle Touch lineup also includes a model with 3G connectivity for downloading books on the go, available for $149. The ad-free Kindle Touch is $139, while the 3G model without "special offers" goes for $189.

Both Kindle Touch models are available for pre-order today, and are scheduled to ship on Nov. 21.

Kindle
  • 30 percent lighter, less than 6 ounces
  • 18 percent smaller body, same 6-inch screen size - Fits in your pocket
  • Most advanced E Ink display, reads like paper
  • Built in Wi-Fi - Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New - Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Kindle Fire


Kindle Touch
  • Most-advanced E Ink display, now with multi-touch
  • New sleek design - 8 percent lighter, 11 percent smaller, holds 3,000 books
  • Text-to-speech, plus audio books and mp3s
  • Built in Wi-Fi - Get books in 60 seconds
  • Massive book selection, over 800,000 titles are $9.99 or less
  • New - Borrow Kindle books from your public library

Kindle Fire


X-Ray
Amazon also announced a new feature called "X-Ray," which allows users to see all of the passages in a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them with a single tap. Users can also access detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon's own community-powered encyclopedia. X-ray is said to be powered by language processing and machine learning technology built by Amazon.

Kindle Fire


AppleInsider revealed on Monday that Amazon was set to announce three new Kindle models this week, with two of them being e-ink-based. Also revealed Wednesday was the third model: the Amazon Kindle Fire, a color 7-inch touchscreen tablet that will sell for $199.

Amazon is expected to build 12 million new e-ink Kindles this year — 8 million of the low-end $79 model, with another 4 million Kindle Touches. The high-end touch model, code-named "Whitney," features a Freescale i.MX515 processor and 256MB of RAM with its 6-inch display. The touchsreen model is arriving later because of a "more complicated design and assembly," analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed.

The new $79 model is said to feature the same processor as the touch model, but has an integrated controller that will provide "better system design and lower cost" when compared to previous Kindle hardware, Kuo said.

The Kindle lineup may expand even further in 2012, as Amazon is said to be exploring color touchscreen tablets with sizes of 10.1 inches and 8.9 inches for potential launch next year.