E-Reader Technology is now “Good Enough” and “Affordable Enough”

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I am a relatively recent convert to digital format books. For a long time after the first e-readers came out, I didn’t consider the technology good enough, but I knew the day would eventually come when it would be.

The last time I moved, the weight of my books was roughly half of the weight of my entire household. And that was after I donated a bunch of them to the local libary. It doesn’t take very many of the medium-size “book” boxes (I learned quickly that you don’t use the largest available box for books!) to weigh more than a couch or a king-sized bed.

Now, I have more titles loaded on my Kindle than I own in dead-tree form. I also have a 10-inch tablet with a Kindle app, which has some advantages (and disadvantages) over my PaperWhite (which now is available with a better screen than the one I have). The technology of those devices is good enough — barely. It’s good enough that I have been won over to e-books, and I now only purchase a dead-tree edition if I can’t buy it in Kindle format (or can’t borrow it from my local public library).

Amazon just announced yet another advance in the technology, which combines the best parts of the PaperWhite with my Android tablet app, at a compelling price point. It looks like I’m going to have to buy the new Kindle Fire HDX.

Here’s what you can now get for $139 (from their press release):

  • High-definition display with 1280×800 resolution and 216 pixels per inch, making movies, TV shows, books and games vivid and detailed. 66% more pixels than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Powerful, dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 60% faster than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio—the standard in high-end audio.
  • All-new slim design that matches the look and feel of the new Kindle Fire HDX.
  • Fast streaming, downloads, and web browsing with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi.
  • Powered by the latest version of Fire OS—Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito”—with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services.
  • Kindle FreeTime extends parental controls to give parents a simple, engaging way to manage the way kids use Kindle Fire—parents select content and set time limits by content type.
  • Exclusive new features such as X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads, Second Screen, expanded X-Ray for Movies and TV, and more.
  • Stay connected and productive with all-new email, calendar, and Silk web browser.
  • World’s best content ecosystem—over 27 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks, and magazines.

Some of those new features aren’t all that big a deal for me, but at the $139 price, it’s a pretty good feature set. However, I will probably go for the 8.9-inch model with the extra memory, since I consider my PW slightly too small, and my 10-inch Android tablet slightly too big.

Only problem: It’s not available yet. But you can pre-order it.