Amazon today announced a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite ereader. The new 6th generation Kindle features improved hardware that it says will provide a contrastier display; a processor that is 25% faster; a more responsive and accurate touchscreen; and an improved lighting system.
The new ereader will also be the first to implement a few new features coming to the Kindle platform, some of which look quite useful:
- Page Flip: Allows skimming forward or backward in books by page or chapter without loosing one’s place.
- Goodreads Integration.
- Kindle FreeTime: The new Kindle ereader will include Amazon’s parental control suite. This feature will arrive after launch of the new Paperwhite.
- Vocabulary Builder: The new Paperwhite will keep a list of the words you have looked up in the built-in dictionary.
- Smart Lookup: Integrates dictionary lookup with the X-Ray feature and Wikipedia to give more complete information and definitions.
- In-Line Footnotes: Tap to see footnotes without having to leave the page you are reading.
Amazon also announced another new feature for some Kindle books today – Kindle MatchBook – that will, when it launches in October, give customers who have purchased a print book from Amazon the ability to purchase the Kindle version of that book for .99 or less. The publishers do have to opt in to this program for a book to qualify – Amazon says it will have over 10,000 eligible titles at launch. Kindle MatchBook is retroactive and will include any eligible books purchased at Amazon since 1995.
The new Paperwhite offers no surprises in the appearances department unless, that is, you are surprised by the fact that it looks almost exactly the same as last year’s model. It is the same size as the old model, which is good news if your Kindle’s covers tend to be hand-me-downs, but the new version is slightly lighter (7.3 vs 7.5 ounces). Battery life (rated at 8 weeks) and internal memory (2GB) remain the same.
The new 6th generation Kindle will be available in both Wi-Fi only (9 with ads, 9 without) and in a 3G model that will sell for 9. Amazon is accepting preorders now and the new ereader in Wi-Fi only flavor is expected to begin shipping on September 30th. The 3G version is expected to start shipping on November 5th.