Amazon's Kindle unveiled: an ebook reader with free Internet access

Today, Amazon officially announced its Kindle ebook reader. Contrary to what we previously reported, the Kindle is notWi-Fi compatible. Instead, it's on its own EV-DO network, called Whispernet, which is affiliated with Sprint. Unlike any other EV-DO device we've ever heard of, the Kindle has no monthly fee. That doesn't make the Kindle a replacement tablet computer or Blackberry, however. The EVDO network is to be used pretty much exclusively for downloading books, newspaper and magazine content, and RSS feeds. It has a browser, but only a very basic one.

The Kindle's major competition right now is Sony's Digital eBook Reader. That device doesn't connect to the Internet at all, but converts Word documents into readable files for free (the Kindle will charge $.10 per document emailed), and makes it easy for you to read any pdf file. The Kindle is geared much more towards customers who want to buy books from Kindle's Amazon store, which has 90,000 books already, all under $10. Unlike with iTunes, any book that you download from Amazon onto the device is stored permanently on Amazon, in case your Kindle ever crashes.

The Kindle costs $400, weighs 10.3 ounces, and is available now.

via Amazon