Amazon improves eReaders with sixth-gen Kindle

Another hammer to the death knell of the physically printed word is happening this week as Amazon improves its electronic readers, boasting higher contrast that makes it closer to a real book than ever before.

Sometimes it’s nice to personify gadgets. For instance, people give their cars a name, or even genders. “She just purrs,” some might say, or “Sylvester is doing well today” when the car starts up.

If electronic book readers were thought of like this, though, we would probably see a connection closer to that of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet who yearned to be a real boy, because Kindle wants to be a real book.

In fact, it wants to do more than just feel and be readable like a real book; Amazon’s Kindle seems to want to go further, and be more readable than a real book.

This week, the company has announced that the 6th generation of its ePaper technology now boasts “higher contrast and better reflectivity,” making the results closer to what a real book looks like.

Amazon’s “Paperwhite” technology adds to this, lighting up the front of the screen so that the pages still look clear even in the dark, and don’t cause your eyes to suffer under strain.

Outside of the screen changes, the new Kindle is faster, has a better touch-panel, and can look up words through a built-in dictionary with Wikipedia access also thrown in, viewable inside the page you’re reading.

The battery has also been improved, now boasting eight weeks on a charge in a device that weighs 207 grams.

Local pricing and availability hasn’t been announced yet, though Amazon has said that the new Kindle will come in at $139 USD when it arrives in October for order at the Amazon website, which Australians won’t be denied access to. The Kindle supports WiFi, though a 3G and WiFi capable version will be coming in October for $199 USD, too.