Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader system for reading electronic books or e-books. Kindle was launched in the United States by the prominent online bookseller Amazon.com in November of 2007. It uses an electronic paper display, reads the proprietary Kindle (AZW) format, and downloads content over Amazon Whispernet, which uses the Sprint EVDO network for connection and file transfers. The Kindle device can be used without a computer. Whispernet is accessible through Kindle without any additional fee. At this time Amazon does not sell the Kindle outside the United States as Whispernet only works in the U.S. On the release day, the Kindle Store had more than 88,000 digital titles available for download, but that number has steadily increased. Amazon's first offering of the Kindle sold out in five and a half hours and the obviously popular device remained out of stock until late April 2008. At launch, the device retailed for $399.00 but Amazon has subsequently lowered the price to $359.00.
The internal memory of the Amazon Kindle can hold approximately 200 non-illustrated titles. Users can download content from Amazon in the proprietary Kindle format (AZW), or load unprotected Mobipocket (PRC, MOBI) or plain text content. Amazon offers an email-based service that will convert HTML, DOC (Microsoft Word), PDF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP documents to AZW. It also supports audio in the form of MP3s and Audible 2, 3, and 4 audiobooks, which must be transferred to the Kindle over USB or on an available SD card.
Users can download content through the Kindle Store. The Kindle Store is accessed through Whispernet, over Sprint's EVDO network, which Amazon provides free of charge. New releases and New York Times bestsellers are offered for approximately $10. Classics like Bleak House sell for around $1.99. The first chapters of many books are offered as a free sample. Subscriptions to newspapers cost between $5.99 and $14.99 per month, magazines between $1.25 and $3.49 per month, and blogs for $0.99 to $1.99 per month. Users can send documents to a conversion service which will send a Kindle-formatted file to the device directly for $0.10 or to a personal e-mail account for free. Users can transfer converted documents from a computer to the Kindle via a USB cable or an SD card. Access to Wikipedia is offered at no additional charge.
The device comes with electronic editions of its owner's manual and the New Oxford American Dictionary. The Kindle also contains several free experimental features. These include a basic Web browser. Users can also play music from MP3 files in random order in the background. Operating system updates are received over the air and installed automatically. Other services are likely to be developed as the popularity and distribution of this device increases.