Amazon said on Monday that it is now shipping both versions of the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader (opens in new tab). The company says they're the most advanced e-reader ever built, offering 62-percent more pixels, a 25-percent higher contrast, and a patented built-in front light. The design is even sleeker and slimmer than previous Kindle models.
"Kindle Paperwhite is the most advanced e-reader ever created and the Kindle we always wanted to build," said Jay Marine, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "Pre-orders have far exceeded our expectations and we’re excited to start shipping Kindle Paperwhite to customers today."
The Kindle Paperwhite actually arrives in four flavors: two Wi-Fi only versions ($119 with Special Offers, $139 without), and two Wi-Fi + 3G versions ($179 with Special Offers, $199 without). The 3G models allow owners to download books at any time and wherever there's network coverage thanks to Amazon's free 3G service – no annual contracts or monthly fees included. Wi-Fi only models can download books and content for free using AT&T hotspots across the nation.
The Kindle Paperwhite's screen features three components: a 0.5-mm Light Guide, the capacitive touch screen layer, and the Paperwhite display itself. "We worked on Kindle Paperwhite for over two years to perfect the uniformity of the built-in light, flattening out a fiber optic cable into a sheet, and nanoimprinting to ensure perfectly even distribution of light," Amazon states on the product page. "Our design uses nanoscale optical diffractive patterns to enable tight control over the direction of the light."
The Kindle Paperwhite also features new "hand-tuned" fonts in six styles and eight adjustable sizes. The battery promises up to 8 weeks on one charge even with the unique light on. Even more, a new Time to Read feature uses your reading speed to let you know when you'll finish your chapter, and X-Ray allows readers to explore the "bones of the book."
To get a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, order the Wi-Fi model here (opens in new tab), and the Wi-Fi + 3G model here (opens in new tab). Consumers waiting for these devices to hit store shelves at Target and Walmart will be waiting for a long time, as both outlets are no longer offering Kindle devices.