Amazon this morning updated its entry level Kindle e-reader for the first time since 2014 — trimming its size, cutting down on its weight, giving it a more rounded design, doubling its memory, adding Bluetooth audio support, and offering the option of white in addition to the standard black.
The price will remain $79.99 for the ad-supported, touch-screen Kindle. The device is available for pre-order starting today, and it’s scheduled for release on July 7.
Amazon also added white as an optional color for its Kindle Paperwhite device, which sells for $119.99. The two devices represent the lower end of the Kindle lineup, which also includes the $199.99 Kindle Voyage e-reader and the $289.99 Kindle Oasis.
With the hardware update to the entry-level Kindle, Amazon was able to reduce the weight of the device to 5.7 ounces, from 6.7 ounces previously. The dimensions are now 6.3″ x 4.5″ x 0.36″, compared with 6.7″ x 4.7″ x 0.40″ previously. The company says the rounded design should also make the device easier to hold.
The Kindle’s new built-in Bluetooth audio support works in conjunction with the VoiceView audio feature that helps visually-impaired readers navigate the screen and read books. The feature requires a special audio adapter on earlier Kindle models.
Other new software features include the ability to export notes and highlights from e-books to email, as a PDF or spreadsheet file. Amazon says this new feature will be rolled out through an upcoming software update.