Kindle: The Next Generation (Updated)

For awhile I’d been planning to do a post regarding the Kindle and how with the next iteration of it, we’ll see massive uptake. We’re seeing a similar pattern to the iPod: each release brought new features but also far wider public conciousness and desire. For awhile if you mentioned an “iPod” a lot of people would look oddly at you – we’ve only recently moved past that stage with the Kindle (in the UK at least). Soon everyone wanted an iPod but weren’t at the stage where they were willing to buy one. This is round about where we are with the Kindle, nearly everyone is aware of the what it is and what if offers but still aren’t ready to make that leap. I was going to going to hypothesize that if the next version of the Kindle had both a touch-screen and a lower price point then the whole thing would erupt.

Guess I should have blogged about it sooner.

Today Amazon announced the next generation of Kindles and the direction/s it is heading in. The biggest surprise (I feel) is the price, the standard model is going to be cheaper the 3rd generation one and now bordering in the waters “why the hell not”. There’s also enough new features here for existing Kindle owners to want to upgrade which will of course result in older (but still brilliant) models getting passed on to friends and relatives.

This is it people, the Kindle and the eBook is about to go MASSIVE.

Below I have listed the pricing of each model, including a currency exchange for the UK although based on past experience, it will probably cost about 10% more than this. Something else worth noting, which Jeff Bezos kept quite in the press conference, is that main prices they have been quoting are for the ad-supported versions. If you want to be ad-free then expect to be paying around $40 more than you’re expecting. This may not be a bad thing though, one of the big points they made was that with this version, the ads would slip in amongst the screensavers images and would designed in a way to not be unattractive. Now on one I’m now crazy about having advertisements built into my piece of hardware but on the other – if its only showing when I’m not using the device then why the hell not?

Model Cost in US Conversion to UK
Fire $199 £127
Touch – 3G – Ad free $189 £121
Touch – 3G – Ad supported $149 £95
Touch – Wi-fi only – Ad free $139 £89
Touch – Wi-fi only – Ad supported $99 £63
Basic Kindle $79 £51

I’m not sure whether the basic version (which isn’t touch screen AND without a keyboard in case that bothers you) comes ad-supported or not.

And for the record – so far I’ve only been tempted to buy a Kindle. The 3rd generation almost pulled me but I suspect when these babies start rolling out in the UK then I’m not going to be able to resist any longer.

Update 30th September 2011

So I wrote this article just a few hours after the Amazon press conference whilst all the excitement was still buzzing in my fingers as I typed. Then reality set it.

I stand by my original statement that this new generation of Kindles will even further transform the world of publishing… but only in the US.

You see, as per usual, here in the UK we’re not getting the same deal. My guestimated prices count for nothing. First of all, the Kindle Fire isn’t going to make it here any time soon. I’m not too fussed about this, I understand why – half the services it relies on haven’t launched here yet. But get this – the only Kindle Kindle launching in the UK is the basic version. No touch screen. No ad support. No keyboard.

And the price is £90 making it almost double the price of the US version (although no-ad supported) and not that much cheaper than the 3rd generation one. So the eBook revolution isn’t going to be kicking off in the UK just yet. Ironically on they are not describing the 3rd generation Kindle almost as an upgraded version… you can pay £90 for the basic “Kindle” or the “Kindle Keyboard” for £110 Weird.

So ultimately I’m more than little disappointed by this. I’d been holding for a decently priced, touch-screen version and neither of those versions are being offered to Brits. Yet.

Title image courtesy CBS Interactive

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 7:52 PM  Leave a Comment  

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