The Amazon Kindle

The Kindle

Amazon released the Kindle First Generation on November 19, 2007, for US$399 and it sold out in five and a half hours.The device remained out of stock for five months until late April

It is the only Kindle with expandable memory, via an SD card slot.

The device features a 6 inch (diagonal) 4-level grayscale display, with 250MB of internal memory, which can hold approximately 200 non-illustrated titles.

Amazon did not sell the Kindle First Generation outside the United States. Plans for a launch in the UK and other European countries were delayed by problems with signing up suitable wireless network operators.

Kindle 2

On February 10, 2009, Amazon announced the Kindle 2. It became available for purchase on February 23, 2009. The Kindle 2 features a text-to-speech option to read the text aloud, and 2 GB of internal memory of which 1.4 GB is user-accessible. By Amazon’s estimates the Kindle 2 can hold about 1500 non-illustrated books. Unlike the Kindle First Generation, Kindle 2 does not have a slot for SD memory cards. It was slimmer than the original Kindle.

To promote the new Kindle, author Stephen King made UR, his then-new novell, available exclusively through the Kindle Store.On October 22, 2009, Amazon stopped selling the original Kindle 2 in favor of the international version it had introduced earlier in the month.

According to an early review by iFixIt, the Kindle 2 features a Freescale 532 MHz, ARM-11 90 nm processor, 32 MB main memory, 2 GB moviNAND flash storage and a 3.7 V 1530 mAh lithium polymer battery.

On November 24, 2009, Amazon released a firmware update for the Kindle 2 that it said increases battery life by 85% and introduces native PDF support.

On July 8, 2009, Amazon reduced price of the Kindle 2 from the original $359 to $299. On October 7, 2009, Amazon further reduced the price of the Kindle 2 to $259 .The Kindle 2 was criticized for its high original retail price, compared to the $185.49 manufacturing cost estimated by iSuppli.

International version

On October 7, 2009, Amazon announced an international version of the Kindle 2 that works in over 100 countries. It became available October 19, 2009. The international Kindle 2 is physically very similar to the U.S.-only model, although it uses a different mobile network standard.

The original Kindle 2 uses CDMA2000, for use on the Sprint network. The international version uses standard GSM and 3G GSM, enabling it to be used on AT&T’s U.S. mobile network and internationally in 100 other countries.

Kindle 2 International Version is believed to have a noticeably higher contrast screen, although Amazon does not advertise this.

On October 22, Amazon lowered the price on the international version from $279 to $259 and discontinued the U.S.-only model. On June 21, 2010, hours after Barnes & Noble lowered the price of its Nook, Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle 2 to $189, undercutting the Nook by $10.

Kindle DX

Amazon announced the Kindle DX on May 6, 2009. This device has a larger screen than the standard Kindle and supports simple PDF files. It was also the thinnest Kindle to date and offers an accelerometer, which enables the user to seamlessly rotate pages between landscape and portrait orientations when the Kindle DX is turned on its side. It is marketed as more suitable for displaying newspaper and textbook content.

International version

Since January 19, 2010, the Kindle DX International has shipped in 100 countries. The Kindle DX comes with a 9.7 inch (24.6 cm) E Ink screen instead of the 6 inch (15.2 cm) normal Kindle screen.

Kindle DX Graphite

On July 1, 2010, Amazon released a new revision of the Kindle DX (3rd Generation Kindle DX). As well as dropping the price from $489 to $379, the new Kindle DX has an E Ink screen with 50% better contrast ratio and comes only in a “graphite” color. It is speculated the color change is to improve contrast ratio perception even further, as some users found the previous white casing highlighted the fact that the E Ink background is gray and not white.

Kindle Application

Amazon released the Kindle for PC application free of charge, allowing users to read Kindle books on a Windows PC. Amazon later released a version for the Macintosh.Versions for mobile devices running on operating systems from Research in Motion, Apple, Android and Google are also available free of charge. None of these alternate versions can currently read newspapers, magazines, or blogs, the way they are readable on the Kindle device itself. Amazon has announced that periodical support will soon be added to the Kindle apps for other platforms.

Kindle 3 (WiFi and 3G with WiFi, Latest Generation)

Amazon announced a new generation of the Kindle on July 28, 2010. While Amazon does not officially add numbers to the end of each Kindle denoting its generation, most reviewers, customers and press companies refer to this updated Kindle as the “Kindle 3”.

The Kindle 3 is available in two versions. One of these, the Kindle Wi-Fi, is initially priced at US$139 / GB£109, and connects to the Internet exclusively via public or private Wi-Fi networks. The other version, considered a replacement to the Kindle 2, is priced at US$189 / GB£149 and includes both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. The new Kindle with 3G is available in two colors: classic white and graphite. Both models use the new E ink “Pearl” display, which Amazon claims is 50% better in contrast – a claim that is backed up by early user reports.

The Kindle 3 utilizes a Freescale i.MX353 applications processor, Freescale MC13892 power management chip, Epson EINK controller and Samsung DRAM and Flash. Other hardware changes include a larger 1750 mAh lithium polymer battery, AnyDATA DTP-600W 3G GSM modem and Atheros AR6102G 802.11bg WiFi chip.

The third-generation Kindle is 0.5 inches shorter and 0.5 inches narrower than the Kindle 2. It supports additional fonts and international Unicode characters. An experimental browser based on the popular WebKit rendering engine is included, as well as text-to-speech menu navigation. Internal memory is expanded to 4 GB. The battery can allegedly last for up to one month of reading with the wireless radios turned off.

Pre-orders for the new Kindle began concurrent with the announcement of the device, and Amazon began shipping the devices on August 27, 2010 in the United States and United Kingdom.

With the announcement of the Kindle 3, Amazon also launched an version of the Kindle store. As yet it’s unclear whether users who move out of the UK will be able to transfer existing purchases to However, existing UK users are offered the option of migrating to the UK Kindle store, with no loss to their existing purchases.

On August 25, 2010, Amazon announced that the Kindle 3 was the fastest-selling Kindle ever.



Content from Amazon and some other content providers is primarily encoded in Amazon’s proprietary Kindle format (AZW). It is also possible to load content in various formats from a computer by simply transferring it to the Kindle via USB (for free) or by emailing it to a registered email address provided by Amazon (for a fee, unless the transfer to the device is done via Wi-Fi instead of 3G); the email service can convert a number of document formats to Amazon’s AZW format and then transmit the result to the associated Kindle over Whispernet.

Kindle Terms of Use forbid transferring Amazon e-books to another user or a different type of device.  Users can select reading material using the Kindle itself or through a computer at the Amazon Kindle store and can download content through the Kindle Store, which upon the initial launch of the Kindle had more than 88,000 digital titles available for download. This number continued steadily increasing to more than 275,000 by late 2008, and exceeded 500,000 in the spring of 2010. As of July 24, 2010, there were more than 650,000 books available for download. In late 2007, new releases and New York Times best sellers were being offered for approximately US$11, with first chapters of many books offered as free samples. Many titles, including some classics, are offered free of charge or at a low price, which has been stated to relate to the cost of adapting the book to the Kindle format. Magazines, newspapers and blogs via RSS are provided by Amazon per a monthly subscription fee or a free trial period. Newspaper subscriptions cost from US$1.99 to $27.99 per month; magazines charge between $1.25 and $10.99 per month, and blogs charge from $0.99 to $1.99 per month. Amazon e-book sales overtook print for one day for the first time on Christmas Day of 2009.

International users of Kindle pay different prices for books depending on their registered country. For U.S. customers traveling abroad, Amazon originally charged a $1.99 fee to download books over 3G while overseas. That charge was quietly dropped in May 2010. Fees remain for wireless delivery of periodical subscriptions and personal documents.

In addition to the Kindle store, paid content for the Kindle can be purchased from various independent sources.

The device is sold with electronic editions of its owner’s manual and the New Oxford American Dictionary. Users are able to purchase different dictionaries from the Kindle store as specified in the included manual. The Kindle also contains several free experimental features including a basic web browser. Users can also play music from MP3 files in the background in the order they were added to the Kindle. Operating system updates are designed to be received wirelessly and installed automatically during a period in sleep mode in which wireless is turned on.

The Kindle does not preserve the print edition page numbers used for creating and verifying sources, references and citations. File formats

The original Kindle supported only unprotected Mobipocket books (MOBI, PRC), plain text files (TXT), Topaz format books (TPZ), and Amazon’s proprietary DRM-restricted format (AZW). Version 2.3 firmware upgrade for Kindle 2 (U.S. and International) added native Portable Document Format (PDF) support. Earlier versions did not fully support PDF, but Amazon provided “experimental” conversion to the native AZW format, with the caveat that not all PDFs may format correctly. It does not support the EPUB ebook standard. However there is software available (e.g. Calibre) which can convert a non-DRM EPUB file into the unprotected Mobipocket format that the Kindle can read. Amazon offers an email-based service that will convert JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP graphics to AZW. Amazon will also convert HTML pages and Microsoft Word (DOC) documents through the same email-based mechanism, which will send a Kindle-formatted file to the device directly for $0.15 per MB or to a personal e-mail account for free. These services can be accessed by sending emails to <kindleusername> and to <kindleusername> for Whispernet-delivered and free email-delivered file conversion, respectively, but these are services available just for those who bought a real Kindle device, not available for those who just own the digital Kindle application (iPhone, iPad, etc.). The file that the user wants to be converted needs to be attached to these emails. Users could also convert PDF and other files to the first-generation Kindle’s supported formats using third-party software. The original Kindle supported audio in the form of MP3s and Audible audiobooks (versions 2, 3 and 4), which had to be transferred to the Kindle via USB or on an SD card.

A book may be downloaded from Amazon to a limited number of devices at the same time. The limit ranges from one to six devices, depending on an undisclosed number of licenses set by the book publisher. When the limit is reached, the users have to unregister some devices in the Manage Your Kindle page in order to add new devices.

E-books of unencrypted .MOBI files, .TXT files, or .AZW formats can be transferred to the Kindle over a USB connection and read, but any other e-book formats are not supported. The original Kindle and the Kindle 2 firmware before the 2.3 firmware update cannot read e-books or files in the PDF format. However, PDFs and several other file formats can be converted using a number of downloadable applications, free conversion by email, or a similar method that sends the converted content to the owner’s Kindle for a fee.

Amazon owns Mobipocket,and the Kindle AZW file format and DRM scheme are similar to the Mobipocket file format and DRM scheme, yet Kindle is not able to read DRM-protected Mobipocket books without resorting to third-party conversions tools.

Initially, Kindle 1 only supported the (Latin 1) character set for its content; Unicode characters and non-Western characters were not supported. A firmware update in February 2009 added support for additional character sets, including ISO 8859-16.

Kindle 2 added support for Audible Enhanced (AAX) format, but dropped support for Audible versions 2 and 3. Using the experimental web browser, it was possible to download books directly on the Kindle (in MOBI, PRC and TXT formats only). Hyperlinks in a Mobipocket file could be used to download e-books but could not be used to reference books stored in the Kindle’s memory. Kindle DX added native support for PDF files.

The original Kindle and Kindle 2 did not allow the user to organize books into folders. There is an option to select whether documents, subscriptions, books, or everything on the device appear on the home page. Another option orders the items on the home page according to title, author, or download date. Books may also be tagged with one or more keywords by inserting the tags into notes added to the book. Users can then search for books by tag. Kindle software version 2.5 (released July 2010) allowed for the organization of books into “Collections” which is roughly correspondent to folders except for the fact that one book may be added to multiple collections.

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