Right on schedule, according to months of rumor and speculation, Amazon will begin shipping a new 6″ Kindle e-reader in August. While Amazon isn’t referring to the new model as the Kindle 3, it is indeed a third generation product. Unlike prior editions, the new Kindle will be offered in a graphite color, as seen on the recently refreshed 9.7″ Kindle DX, and the original white. Additionally, a WiFi-only model ($139) will accompany the dual 3G+WiFi capable model ($189). Speaking of that new DX, these updated 6″ Kindles seem to feature a similar e-Ink screen upgrade with faster page refreshes and increased contrast.
Possibly related to the enhanced display, battery life of the Kindle 3 has been improved. And it was done without compromising size – the new units are 21% smaller and 15% lighter. Which is what tempts me most. There also appears to be some software refinements, including an updated Webkit browser as reported by Engadget. (Will us K2 owners see some of this?) However, according to the WSJ, it appears periodicals will retain their basic text-centric presentation.
Last, but not least, the nav rocker sees a much-needed redesign — as I can’t say I’ve enjoyed flipping through the Kindle UI via thumbnail. Instead of a single nub handling 4 directional inputs and serving double duty as the selection button, there is now a more expansive pad to handle these tasks.
Amazon is accepting pre-orders now and units are set to arrive August 27th.