Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) announced Wednesday that it will sell a third type of its popular Kindle e-reader that will rely solely on Wi-Fi for Internet access. The new Kindle Wi-Fi, available for pre-order now on the website, comes at the relatively low cost of $139.
The online retailer also unveiled an updated version of its $189 e-reader, the Kindle 3G with Wi-Fi and its $379 Kindle DX. The latest generation of Kindle, which includes the 3G and Wi-Fi devices, is smaller and lighter, though the six-inch reading area remains the same. The Kindle 3G has “go anywhere” wireless capabilities that don’t require monthly payments or the purchase of a data plan, unlike the cheaper Kindle Wi-Fi , which can only be used in locations that have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot. A single battery charge will now keep all three Kindles powered for up to a month and they can all now carry up to 3,500 books.
More notably, however, is that the new Kindles have a unique high-contrast e-Ink screen, which, according to Amazon, offers “50% better contrast than any other e-Reader” and absolutely no sun glare. This selling point is no doubt intended to distinguish the Kindle from its main competitor, Apple’s multifunctional, albeit $499-$829 iPad.
Both the updated Kindle 3G and the new Kindle Wi-Fi will be shipped Aug. 27.
These new releases are only part of Amazon’s recent efforts in achieving e-reader world domination. In June, Amazon slashed its second-generation Kindle’s price from $259 to $189. The decrease came a day after Barnes and Noble lowered the price of its Nook to $199. The move ultimately led to a subsequent spike in Kindle sales … and the e-books that are available for it. Amazon announced recently that it is selling more e-books than actual hardcover copies in its online store. The second-generation Kindle, additionally, sold out on July 28.
Amazon, for its part, seems to want consumers to believe that its Kindle craze hasn’t been in response to the iPad’s popularity.