Amazon snubs PC with Kindle eBook reader

Amazon has finally unveiled its much-hyped eBook reader, Kindle.

Amazon snubs PC with Kindle eBook reader

The battery-operated Amazon Kindle will sell for $399 and let users download books, newspapers and blogs over a wireless connection. It can carry about 200 books downloaded from Amazon.com at about $10 for new releases.

Wireless functionality is surprisingly based on the mobile phone broadband technology, EVDO, in a bid to avoid connecting the device to a PC or finding a Wi-Fi hotspot. Amazon says it will cover the cost of the data bills, and claims a book can be downloaded in under a minute.

“The question is can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?,” Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said at a press conference in New York. “It has to disappear.”

The device’s screen is not back-lit and uses electronic ink to mimic paper. Yet, the 10 ounce device will still need charging every other day, according to Amazon, with battery life increasing to “a week or more” if you turn the wireless off.

Amazon is making more than 90,000 books available from the Kindle store. New releases cost $9.99, which is around $5 cheaper than the physical book, and significantly less expensive than early eBooks, which have cost as much as $25.

The Kindle service will also offer subscriptions to newspapers, magazine for a monthly fee. Subscriptions to newspapers such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal range from $5.99 to $14.99. Magazine subscriptions range from $1.25 to $3.49 per month.

Amazon is even taking the bold step of charging 99 cents a month to read blogs such as Slashdot – which are free to access from a PC.

There’s no word as yet on a UK launch.

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