Amazon Announces Kindle Paperwhite Update

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) has revealed the latest update to its mid-priced Kindle Paperwhite, with changes designed to enhance the user experience and reduce eyestrain.

The new model Paperwhite has higher-resolution displays and typesetting features, but maintains its price of $119. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement that the new Kindle Paperwhite "obsesses over the details that matter most to readers." One major feature of the update is that no matter the font size, all updates will adjust automatically to help readers keep reading as quickly as possible.

Now the Kindle Paperwhite will offer a 300 pixels-per-inch display, double the resolution of the previous generation. Even so, its battery will last for weeks, not hours, according to the company. This update gives the Kindle Paperwhite the same display quality as the Kindle Voyage (which retails for $199) and 1.8 times the pixels of the base model Kindle (which sells for $79).

The Kindle Paperwhite will use a font called Bookerly, which is exclusive to Amazon and was designed for digital reading. Bookerly is "lighter, more graceful look and outperforms other digital reading fonts to help customers read faster with less eyestrain," the company said in a press release.

A new font won't be the only change readers see on their screens. The Paperwhite will feature a new typesetting engine that improves spacingand kerning and adds hyphenation at more appropriate places than previous generations of the Kindle did. The company said the new spacing will appear more natural,"remove the distracting whitespace between letters," and allow readers to read faster.

There will also be a feature to allow for publishers to include drop caps on the first page of each chapter in a way that will not cause spacing issues on the page. The drop caps will allow Amazon's ebooks to more closely replicate the appearance of printed books.

The new font and layout improvements are already available on over half a million books, and are being added to thousands of books each week, according to Amazon. Current owners of Kindle Paperwhites will not have to buy the new model to experience these changes, which the company said will come to all users in a free software update.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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