As expected, Amazon.com Wednesday released a new version of its Kindle with a bigger screen, which is intended to present newspaper and magazine content better than the current, smaller Kindle 2.
The New York Times Company and Washington Post Company are launching pilots with Kindle DX this summer, according to an Amazon.com press statement.
The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post will offer the Kindle DX at a reduced price to readers who live in areas where home-delivery is not available and who sign up for a long-term subscription to the Kindle edition of the newspapers, the company said.
At a press conference to introduce the new device in New York, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said that traditional computer displays are a "worse device than paper" for reading print, and that Kindle's "paper-like display" solves that problem.
"The Kindle DX is an important milestone in the convergence between digital and print," said Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of The New York Times, at the launch event. "It significantly enhances our ability to reach millions of readers."
In addition to the newspaper deals, Amazon.com also has enlisted U.S. colleges and universities to begin testing the device among their students. Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, Reed College and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia will make Kindle DX devices available to students during their fall semesters later this year, the company said. The schools plan to distribute hundreds of Kindle DX devices to students across a range of academic disciplines, it said.
To facilitate the reading of business documents, the Kindle DX includes a built-in PDF reader using Adobe Reader Mobile technology. People can e-mail PDF documents to their Kindle e-mail address or use a USB connection to move them over from another storage device, the company said.
Amazon.com has posted a product page on its Web site.
The new Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch screen and is a larger format than the current Kindle 2, which has a 6-inch screen, the same as the original Kindle device launched in November 2007. Amazon.com launched Kindle 2 in February.
The Kindle DX costs US$489 versus $359 for the other Kindle devices, according to the site.
The new device also has more storage than either of its predecessors. The device can store 3,500 books; the Kindle 2 can store 1,500 books and the original only 200.
The Kindle DX also has the same wireless-downloading capacity as the other devices. There are currently more than 275,000 titles available for purchase and download in the Kindle store.
The earlier Kindles are formatted mainly for reading books. However, it is possible to read newspapers and magazines on the devices and Amazon.com has several deals with newspapers, including the New York Times, to provide content.
The newspaper and print-publishing industry in the U.S. has been hit particularly hard by the current global recession and many magazines and newspapers have stopped printing and gone Web-only. Some hope a device like the Kindle DX can help revive the industry.
People can begin preordering the Kindle DX now, and the product will ship in the third quarter, Amazon said.
(Marc Ferranti in New York and Melissa Perenson from PC World contributed to this report.)