Amazon unveils trio of Kindle e-ink readers

Amazon unveils the Kindle Touch for $99. A 3G version will retail for $149, while a cheaper no-touch version will sell for $79.

Amazon unveils three e-readers and its first tablet.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils three e-readers and its first tablet, the Kindle Fire. Sarah Tew/CNET
Amazon today showed off three new versions of its Kindle e-ink digital book reader.

The company unveiled the Kindle Touch for $99. It also showed off a 3G version, which will sell for $149. A cheaper and smaller non-touch-control Kindle will sell for $79, and will be supported with ads.

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The lower price points represent an aggressive push by Amazon to further its lead in the e-reader market as other entrants such as Barnes & Noble's Nook pose a growing threat.

The least expensive Kindle was previously $114. The lowest priced Nook, meanwhile, is $139, while the Nook Color, which has a touch screen and runs on a basic version of Android, sells for $249.

The new Kindle readers are lighter and smaller. The Kindle Touch is thinner, smaller, and lighter than previous models. It features no physical controls, allowing the user to use their hand to navigate through a digital book. Amazon highlighted the "X-Ray" feature, which allows readers to tap a book and see important passages, characters, ideas, places, and topics of interest to them.

The $79 Kindle is 30 percent lighter at 5.98 ounces, 18 percent smaller, and turns pages 10 percent faster than the previous model. The smaller size is due to the removal of the keyboard, instead relying on physical buttons on the bottom portion of the device.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos touted the new price points, saying Amazon is "making premium products at non-premium prices." It was a comment he echoed multiple times.

Later at the event, Amazon showed off the Kindle Fire tablet for $199 .

Updated at 10:15 a.m. PT: to include additional details.

 

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