Amazon launches two new Kindles, one with Wi-Fi only

They're faster, offer more storage, sell for $US139 and $189

Amazon launched two new Kindle e-readers priced at $139 and $189 late Wednesday, with the cheaper version a Wi-Fi-only e-reader and $10 less than the Wi-Fi-only Nook.

The third-generation devices are simply called Kindle and boast 6-inch reading areas, but are overall smaller, lighter, faster and with 50% better contrast, according to Amazon's Web site.

Pre-orders are now available online, with actual release slated for Aug. 27.

The latest black-and-white E-Ink devices are probably going to compete in a world of e-readers that is a separate market from the multimedia-focused all-color iPad from Apple , which also is an e-reader, some analysts said.

"The e-reader market is expanding, not contracting, despite the emergence of iPad and competitors," said Jack Gold, and analyst at J. Gold Associates. "IPads and e-readers appeal to different market segments."

Gold said that Kindle and Nook readers are "avid readers who want the best reading experience, not necessarily a multi-purpose Internet machine."

Gold said there is "clearly room for both" approaches with different sweet spots in the market. "I wouldn't write off e-readers at this point," he adding, noting that multimedia capabilities are being added to the e-readers. Limited Web browsing is possible over both the Kindle and Nook.

Prices for the new models could also lead to something of a price war among e-readers.

The new 3G + Wi-Fi Kindle weighs 8.7 ounces or 15% less than the last generation, with the Wi-Fi-only model weighing 8.5 ounces. Both are about 21% smaller in size than their predecessors, while still keeping the 6-inch screen. The battery life is now estimated at one month with wireless off, and the amount of storage s[ace is doubled to hold up to 3,500 books.

Faster processing allows for 20% faster page turns, something that's seen as important to the most active e-reader customers.

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Matt Hamblen

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