A Kindle Buyer’s Guide

A few days ago I wrote a short guide which explained what you can and cannot do with the Kindle Apps (iOS, Android, etc). It was rather well received so I thought it would be a good idea to add a companion post explaining some of the limitations of the Kindle hardware.

Depending on how you count them, Amazon have released somewhere between 5 and 9 Kindle models. There's also another 2 to 4 models coming in late November, and I'll include them at the end of the post. The reason I'm vague about the total number of Kindles released is that some of the Kindle currently on the market are subsidized by advertising. if you count them separately then there have been 9 Kindles.

Update: Yes, the Kindle DX is missing from this list. I'm still trying to decide if it should be included.

Kindle (original)

This model was released in November 2007 and retired in early 2009 after the K2 was released.

  • web browsing over 3G
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • No Active Content (Apps)

K2 (US)

Amazon debuted this model in early 2009. It's a cleaned up version the original. It dropped the SD card slot, smoothed out all the ugly (cute) details in the design of the original. it also has a faster screen refresh, text-to-speech, and a longer battery life.

  • web browsing over 3G
  • TTS
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • Yes Active Content (Apps)

K2 (World)

Here's the first complication for the Kindles. In mid lat 2009 Amazon took the Kindle global and offered a new model with a different 3G chip. other than the 3g chip the hardware is the same.

  • web browsing over 3G (in some countries, yes)
  • TTS
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • Yes Active Content (Apps)

K3 (Wifi)

Here's the first of the K3 models. It has the same general design as the K2, only thinner and smaller. The only real difference between this model and the next is that one has 3G and the other has wifi.

  • web browsing over Wifi
  • TTS
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • Yes Active Content (Apps)
  • Kindle Cloud

K3 (3G)

  • web browsing over 3G (in some countries, yes)
  • TTS
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • Yes Active Content (Apps)
  • Kindle Cloud

K3 Special Offers

Amazon released a couple reduced price Kindles in mid 2011. They used the same hardware as the existing K3 (Wifi or 3G) and they had the same limitations. The only difference was that the Special Offer models have advertising that cannot be disabled.

K4 (Wifi only)

The latest Kindle model was introduced in early October 2011. It 's the budget model and it features stripped down hardware: less flash storage, no speakers, less RAM, no keyboard. It's available at 2 prices; the lower one is subsidized by ads which can be turned off by paying to upgrade to the regular price.

Kindle Touch (Wifi, 3G)

This not yet released Kindle is due out in November 2011.  It replaces the keyboard of the K3 with an IR touchscreen. The only real difference between the 2 versions of the Kindle Touch is that one can get content from the Kindle Store over the 3G connection.  If you live in the US you can also find the Kindle Touch at lower price points. The lower prices are subsidized by ads which can be turned off by paying to upgrade to the regular price.

  • web browsing over Wifi
  • TTS
  • Audible, MP3 support
  • email conversion
  • No embedded video & audio
  • Yes Active Content
  • Kindle Cloud
  • X-Ray

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11796 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on A Kindle Buyer’s Guide

  1. FYI: the teardown guy now says the K4 has the same RAM as the K3.

    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=151693&page=2

  2. You forgot Poland!

    I mean – where’s Kindle DX?

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