Newspaper article International New York Times

Amazon's New High-End Kindle Beats Hardcovers

Newspaper article International New York Times

Amazon's New High-End Kindle Beats Hardcovers

Article excerpt

Amazon's latest Kindle reader, the Voyage, is better than a printed book.

Amazon's Kindle is a tech-industry miracle. That sounds over-the- top; it's not.

In 2007, when the company first unveiled its e-reader, the device was an expensive ugly duckling whose future looked marginal at best. The first Kindle, which sold for $400 and was made by a company that had no track record in hardware, had a lot to overcome: the reluctance of the book industry to change its business model; the sentimentality of readers for the printed book; and its egregious industrial design, which looked like the product of the Soviet space program.

Worst of all, the Kindle was a dedicated machine. Its only purpose was to let you read books that you purchased from Amazon's online store. In the age of smartphones and apps, when a single phone does just about everything, most dedicated devices have had a rough ride. Sales of digital cameras have crashed because their functions were eaten by phones.

But not the Kindle. Amazon's e-reader hasn't merely survived but also thrived, thanks to a single-minded focus on the needs of obsessive readers. Each year Amazon slightly improved the Kindle's prices, hardware and software, making it more competitive with print, and roiling the publishing industry in the process.

Now, with its newest Kindle, the Voyage, Amazon is refining its e- reader once more. The Voyage's main trick is a high-resolution display that mimics the look of a printed page. Text on its screen appears at a resolution of 300 pixels an inch, which is on par with the high-resolution displays now found on most of our other mobile devices.

Compared with previous Kindles, text on the Kindle Voyage appears both sharper and in starker relief against the background. Graphics, like charts, look just as clear as they do in any black-and-white book.

The effect is beguiling. If you look at the new Kindle for any stretch of time, you don't just forget that you're reading an e- book; you forget that you're using any kind of electronic device at all.

Amazon says the Voyage offers a better approximation of print than has ever been available on an e-reader, but for me, it's far better than that. …

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