The Amazon Kindle reader is an excellent choice if you are considering buying a dedicated eReader

Younger readers won’t realize that the Amazon Kindle reader was launched by a company that originally started out as an online bookstore during the Internet explosion in the late nineties.

 

Founder Jeff Bezos named it after the Amazon River, one of the largest in the world and partly due to the alphabetical advantage.

The site, which became online in 1995, quickly gained traction and went on to sell a variety of products stored in their warehouses or through third-party sellers.

In time Amazon would become not just one of the largest bookstores but also one of the largest stores in general, even bypassing traditional brick-and-mortar companies.

Following its humble beginnings as an online book seller, it was only a matter of time that the company would launch the Amazon Kindle reader.

But the eBook is actually as old as the Internet, though the popularity of the World Wide Web made it more accessible than it was when Project Gutenberg was introduced back in 1971.

EBooks simply made it possible to carry around your favorite novels and publications anywhere, and the Internet helped in its mass distribution.

Before the turn of the century, there were already sites that were selling eBooks and one or two standalone eBook readers.

The early 2000s saw eBooks not getting the attention that it deserved due to conflicting formats and the lack of support from authors and publishing houses.

The first step by Amazon into the eBook market happened when it acquired Mobipocket, a company developing eBook reading software.

Two years later, the company would introduce the first Amazon Kindle reader to the market, and the eBook would gain center stage. 

THE LATEST KINDLES

Kindle Fire

Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is one of the newest Amazon products released in the market, with great fanfare. However, unlike its predecessors, this isn’t positioned as an e-book reader but as a Tablet PC. Kindle Fire currently measures 7.5 inches in length, 4.7 inches in width, and 0.45 inches in depth. Its size is comparable to that of the Galaxy Tab the Samsung Tablet PC and Playbook the Blackberry Tablet PC.

One of its greatest assets is its multi-touch screen with a very high screen resolution of 1024 by 600 and the ability to display up to 16 million colors. This explains why magazine and book covers, as well as illustrations or images, pop out of the screen. It’s made tough, so it doesn’t easily give in to scratches and finger smudges. The Amazon Tablet PC is incredibly lightweight at 14.6 ounces (413g), making it easy to carry around anywhere you go. It sports an 8GB internal storage that is more than any previous Kindle reader, which only have 2GB or 4GB. If you need extra space, you can make use of the Amazon cloud; it offers unlimited storage for all your Amazon content. So, if you’ve already maximized the space on your device, you can delete them and get them back from the cloud whenever you would like to access them again. 8 GB can still store the following – around 6,000 books, 800 songs, and 10 movies. It also offers a decent battery life of 8 hours.

The Tablet PC doesn’t have 3G, but you can connect via Wi-Fi. It supports a variety of content format, such as mp3, mp4, Doc, JPEG, and non-DRM AAC.

A very distinct feature of Kindle Fire is the Amazon Silk browser, which helps speed up downloading of webpages through compression and maximization of bandwidth. It also keeps track of your browsing patterns and pre-loads commonly visited pages. The Silk browser complements the 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor. Though this runs on Android OS, it’s customized, so you don’t have any access to the Android Market but to Amazon’s app store. Other notable features of Kindle Fire are Whispersync, which takes note of the last page you’ve read and sync it to all your other devices, and Amazon’s Prime, which is free for a month and gives you unlimited access to all your favorite shows and movies with no commercials. Learn more about it in our Kindle Fire review…
Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle Fire pros and cons

Kindle Touch

Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch may not be as popular as Kindle Fire, even if both were launched as the same time, it doesn’t mean its features and functions are mediocre. Many actually find this a lot better than the other Kindle readers.

Physically, it is 6.8 inches in length, 4.7 inches in width, and 0.40 inches in depth. It weighs 7.5 ounces (213g). This makes it lighter and slimmer than the other Kindles such as the Kindle DX and Keyboard. Perhaps one of the reasons why, is the lack of buttons and physical keyboard, which you can find in its relatives. The Kindle reader sports a stunning multi-touch screen display, with a screen resolution of 600 by 800 and a grayscale level of 16. To further emphasize how good it is, Amazon included EasyReach, which stops you from swiping the screen in order to turn the page. All you have to do now is to tap it, thereby greatly reducing hand fatigue and allowing you to conveniently hold the device with both hands. This still has the E ink® display, though it is known to have far fewer glares, especially when you’re reading under direct sunlight.

This Kindle reader has a much larger internal storage of 4GB, which allows it to hold a total of 3,000 books. Nevertheless, getting this e-book reader gives you access to hundreds of thousands of titles, some of which are available for free. You can also depend on the free Amazon cloud for storage.

There are 2 versions of the Kindle Touch well actually 4 options. There is the Kindle Touch Wi-Fi with ads, the Touch with Wi-Fi with no ads, the Touch with Wi-Fi and 3G with ads and the last one is Wi-Fi + 3G with no ads. If you don’t want ads expect to pay about $40 more. The battery can last for 2 months with Wi-Fi off and charges for about 4 hours. With this e-book reader, you can utilize the microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack, borrow books from the public library, search for information through X-Ray, add annotations and bookmarks, download books in 60 seconds, and use the read-to-me feature. Since the e-book reader supports some music files, you can actually read books while listening to background music. You can also expand your audio collection to include podcasts and audiobooks. Find out more about the Touch in our full Kindle Touch review… 
Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle Touch pros and cons

Kindle

Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle

Though a drowning list of features can make any device, including an e-book reader, very impressive, it doesn’t really guarantee customer satisfaction. It all goes down to how useful it’s going to be. If your only interest is reading books, then you don’t need to have the latest or the most expensive Kindle in the market. You can settle for the most basic Kindle reader, at a great price under $80 with Special offers (meaning ads).

The most basic of all Kindles is simply called Kindle. It has a physical dimension of 6.5 inches in length, 4.5 inches in width, and 0.34 inches in diameter. It weighs 5.98 ounces (170g). This eBook reader is the smallest, lightest and most portable in the Kindle family. Of course it features the E ink® display with a high-grade contrast and brightness so you will be able to read books for hours.

This Kindle reader doesn’t have 3G, but uses Wi-Fi to connect. Although it offers support for JPEG, DOC, and PDF, to name a few, it doesn’t support sound files, you won’t be able to listen to podcasts, audiobooks or play musing while reading. The internal storage is very small at 2GB, but it may take a while to feel its downside because you can store around 1,400 books, enough books for a life time. If you are a speed reader you can always us the Amazon Cloud free unlimited storage of all your content.

Unlike Kindle 3, this device doesn’t have a physical keyboard, but you can make use of the five-way controller to navigate the screen and reveal the virtual keyboard.

The battery can last up to a month, so you won’t be charging it all the time. This e-reader is the best choice if you’re not looking for the biggest screen, you don’t do a lot of annotations. It is a great eBook reader and nothing else. Learn more in our detailed Kindle review… 
Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, Kindle pros and cons

OLDER VERSIONS

The Amazon Kindle

Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, kindle 3G

The impact of the Amazon Kindle reader to the market can be seen through some of its early advocates. Oprah Winfrey called the reader a “new favorite thing” on her popular TV show. Now on its third generation, the Amazon Kindle has kept the light and portable frame when it was first released, but is generally smaller.

Key to its success is the reading screen. The display uses the E ink® pearl technology that has a higher contrast and better refresh rate. The entire device is 7.5 inches long, 4.8 inches, and less than half an inch thick, with the screen measuring 6 inches diagonally. E ink® works best for standalone readers because it can be read practically anywhere and under any light conditions. The Amazon Kindle reader works especially well outdoors, something that tablets with LCDs can never claim.

Like its predecessors, a QWERTY keyboard is present below the screen as well as a variety of navigation controls on the sides of the device. At the bottom, there is a mini USB port, a headphone jack, volume controls, and a power button. Internal memory has also been increased, making it possible to carry around approximately 3,500 books into a device that weighs almost the same as a single paperback. The jack is used to listen to audio books as well mp3 files. Music can be played in the background while reading.

Consumers can choose between a Wi-Fi only or the Wi-Fi + 3G version. Connectivity is used when accessing the Amazon Kindle reader store to browse and purchase new titles. The Kindle also comes with a webkit-based browser, making it easy to check e-mails or visit websites. It has also been announced that eBook lending will be available to the Kindle by way of certain libraries later this year. PDF can now be read natively, and the usage of 3G is free whenever available. Unlike most gadgets today, this reader can last up to a month without charging as long as Wi-Fi is turned off. Click here to read a more detailed Kindle 3 eReader review
Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, kindle pros and cons

Amazon Kindle DX

Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, kindle DX 3G

The DX is the Amazon Kindle reader that allows consumers to subscribe to newspapers and textbooks. The original Kindle may be perfect for novels, but larger content got displayed with smaller text, and navigating the pages became something frustrating. This has been resolved because the DX has a larger screen, 9.7 inches measured diagonally.

The screen also uses an E ink® pearl display and was actually launched a few days earlier than the 3rd generation Kindle. Aside from the screen size, the DX also places the page turning and navigation controls on the right side of the device. The differences would continue with the internals of the device, making it use a slightly older software version. An exclusive feature of the DX is the accelerometer, making it easier to view pictures, maps, and other publications.

This larger Amazon Kindle reader is 10.4 inches long, 7.2 inches wide, and 0.38 inches thick. It weighs about two paperbacks, still a light and portable device. The same options and controls found on the smaller Kindle are available on the DX, though it does not have the same browser.

The DX does not have the Wi-Fi but comes with free 3G global. You can now download a book over 100 countries in the world for free. Battery life is still high: the device can last up to three weeks without wireless turned on. Ultimately, consumers who choose the DX will get the same Kindle experience on a larger screen. Click here for a more in depth Kindle DX review
Kindle reader, Amazon Kindle Reader, kindle DX pros and cons

Summary

With the explosion of tablets this year, many might question the need for the Amazon Kindle reader. Though at first glance they seem to do more than humble readers, even the latest tablets fail where it matters most: eBook reading. As long the tablets generate unacceptable LCD glare and last for less than a day, there will always be room for the standalone eBook reader.