Amazon Kindle is a series of e-book readers created and launched by tech giant Amazon. First released in 2007, the device aims to let users buy, browse, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, and other forms of digital media via the Kindle Store.
The first concept of the Kindle device was developed by Amazon subsidiary Lab 126. It was later named Kindle, or “to light a fire” by branding consultants Michael Cronan and Karin Hibma. As of 2018, the Kindle Store has over eight million ebooks available in the United States.
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History of Amazon Kindle Devices
First Generation (2007)
In November 2007, Amazon released the Kindle, its first e-book reader, for $399. The device featured a six-inch four-level grayscale E Ink display and 250 MB internal storage (expandable via SD card), which can support approximately 200 non-illustrated books. It also had a dedicated headphone jack and speakers for listening to audio files.
The first generation of the Amazon Kindle was sold exclusively in the US.
Second Generation (2009)
The second-generation Kindle was announced two years later after its first release. Named the Kindle 2, it featured a text-to-speech option for users who want to hear the text aloud and for the visibly disabled. Compared to its first iteration, this device has larger internal memory (2 GB, with 1.4 GB set as user-accessible). However, it does not have an SD card port.
Kindle 2 was slimmer than the original Kindle and could hold up to 1,500 non-illustrated books.
Kindle DX (2009)
The Kindle DX was known for its large screen (9.7 inches display) and was more suited for newspaper and textbook content. This Kindle model was the first to support PDF files and had a built-in accelerometer, which allowed users to rotate pages from landscape to portrait orientation and vice versa.
An international version of the Kindle DX, named Kindle DX International, was soon released in 2010 in over 100 countries. It was the first Kindle to have support for international 3G data.
Third Generation (2010)
The third generation of the Amazon Kindle was released in July 2010. Named the Kindle Keyboard, K3, or Kindle 3, it was made available as soon as it was announced. A few days later, Amazon acknowledged that the Kindle Keyboard was the fastest-selling Kindle ever.
The device was available in two versions, the Kindle Wi-Fi and Kindle 3G. The Wi-Fi version was priced at $139 and had Wi-Fi support. On the other hand, the 3G version is priced at $189 and supports Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.
Amazon also announced its first implementation of Kindle with Special Offers or an ad-supported version on this device. Overall, the Kindle Keyboard received good reviews from the public after its launch.
Fourth Generation (2011)
Launched in September 2011, the fourth-generation Kindle, named Kindle 4, was known to be less expensive than its previous versions ($79 ad-supported and $109 no ads). However, it reportedly had reduced battery life and storage capacity compared to the Kindle 3.
Instead of a physical keyboard, the Kindle 4 featured an on-screen keyboard, a six-inch display, 2 GB flash memory, and a one-month battery life under ideal reading conditions.