What is an Amazon Kindle? It is an e-book reader which enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, MP3’s and audio books. It uses an E Ink electronic paper display capable of rendering 16 shades of gray to simulate reading on paper while minimising power consumption. This causes less eye-strain while reading and simulates natural lighting. Content for the Kindle can be purchased online and downloaded, however it is not restricted to the one device – with your personal ‘library’ of e-books and music available online.

Books bought for the Kindle are generally significantly less than paperback versions and can be instantly downloaded directly to your device. Amazon also stocks a large number of titles which are in the public domain and downloadable for free.

Since the end of November 2011, customers bought “well over” one million Kindles per week; this includes all the models and the Kindle Fire tablet. It is estimated that the Kindle Fire sold about 4.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Check out Amazon’s popular Kindles on their website.

Currently, the three most popular Kindles are known as fourth-generation and are:

The Kindle
The ad-free fourth-generation Kindle retails for $109.00. Retaining the 6 inch e-ink display of the previous Kindle model as well as Amazon’s experimental web-browsing capability (when within Wi-fi range), the fourth generation Kindle features a slight reduction in weight and size as well as nine hard keys, a cursor pad, an on-screen rather than physical keyboard, a flash storage capacity of 2GB, and an estimated one month battery life.

Kindle Touch
Amazon announced a touchscreen version of the Kindle on September 28, 2011; available with Wi-Fi ($139.00) or Wi-Fi/3G connectivity ($189.00). Via 3G the device is able to connect to the Kindle Store, download books and periodicals, and access Wikipedia. Experimental web browsing (outside of Wikipedia) on Kindle Touch 3G is only available over Wi-Fi. The device uses the same 6-inch E-ink screen of the previous Kindle model, with the addition of an infrared touch-screen control. Like its predecessor, the Kindle Touch has a capacity of 4 gigabytes and a battery life of two months. Get your Kindle Touch direct from Amazon today!

Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s foray into the ‘mini-tablet’ market, and was released for $199 with a 7-inch IPS display. This is the first Kindle without an E-Ink display. The unit is capable of holding over 80 applications, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. Its web browser is the Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser. However, unlike previously released Kindles, it has no 3G option, but only has Wi-Fi. The Kindle Fire also has an unused light sensor but lacks a microphone, camera, and an SD card reader. It has 8GB of storage and a projected battery life of up to eight hours. Check out my review of the Kindle Fire here.

Where can I get Kindle eBooks?

The Kindle does not restrict you to purchasing content purely from Amazon. There are other sites that are Kindle compatible or sell file types that can be converted by Amazon and read on your Kindle. These include Mobipocket, Fictionwise, Webscriptions & Feedbooks. Of course, a vast amount of Kindle content comes directly from Amazon.

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