Amazon intros new Kindles for Holiday 2011

Summary:Not to be outdone by B&N's Nook Touch, Amazon responds with the Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G and keyboard-less Kindle offering free cloud storage and ad-supported pricing.

Not content with just launching a new tablet this morning, Amazon showed off its response to rival e-readers with the new the Kindle (left), Kindle Touch (center) and Kindle Touch 3G (the device on the right is the Kindle Fire tablet).

Kindle

The latest iteration of the Kindle looks nothing like its predecessors with its metallic chassis and  navigational buttons, which eliminates the need for a QWERTY keyboard. With a 6-inch E Ink display, the refreshed Kindle is ideal for reading novel-sized e-books outdoors, in an extremely pocketable form factor that weighs less than 5.98-ounces. It comes equipped with Wi-Fi, a micro-USB plug (micro-B connector), and less than 2 GB of usable internal storage but Amazon offers free cloud storage so the puny on-board capacity shouldn't be a problem. Amazon claims the Kindle's battery can last up to a month with Wi-Fi disabled and only 30 minutes of daily reading.

A Kindle with special offers (ads as screensavers) and AmazonLocal promotions will only set you back $79 while the the ad-free version is priced at $109; both are ready for shipping today.

Kindle Touch & Kindle Touch 3G

Not to be outdone by the Barnes & Nobles' acclaimed Nook Touch, Amazon shows it can make not just one but two e-readers with touchscreens with the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G.

Both models feature a 6-inch E Ink, Infrared multi-touch display at 600 X 800, 4 GB of internal storage and free cloud storage, one micro-USB 2.0 port (micro-B connector) as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack. What differentiates the Touch from the Touch 3G is that the former only has a Wi-Fi radio, while the 3G model is compatible with both Wi-Fi and 2G/3G networks.

Along with the Kindle Touch and Touch 3G's more understated look, the e-readers also boast some new features like "X-Ray," which allows users to go deeper into related topics and themes with just a tap of the screen.

Though the Kindle Touch costs less up front at $99 (with special offers), I think the Kindle Touch 3G is actually a better deal considering it only costs $50 more ($149 with special offers) but includes global 3G connectivity in over 100 countries. The ad-free versions cost $138 and $189 respectively. Both the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are available for pre-order today, for a November 21 ship date.

What do you think? Are these new Kindles what you've waiting for from Amazon or are you disappointed that they seem like Nook Touch clones?

[Source: Amazon press release, Engadget's live blogging of press conference, Amazon Kindle website]

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Topics: Hardware, Amazon

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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