Given that Amazon recently lowered the price of its six-inch Kindle 2, it was only a matter of time before the Kindle DX got its own price reality check. Let's face it: At $489 the Kindle DX has felt woefully overpriced ever since Apple introduced its $499 iPad in April. By shaving more than 20 percent from the price, to $379, Amazon repositions its 9.7-inch E-Ink e-reader as falling somewhere between the less expensive, smaller-screened e-readers, and Apple's shiny, multipurpose device.
The new Kindle DX keeps the same name as its predecessor, but it has two core improvements that promise to bolster readability. The case gets a color change, from putty to graphite; in my experience, a darker case helps text jump off an E-Ink screen. In this case, the display has a higher-contrast E-Ink display, which Amazon says has a 50 percent better contrast; greater contrast means that text and graphics will that much sharper.
As an e-reader, Kindle DX continues to have several advantages over iPad. The device is lighter in weight, and its E-Ink screen is better suited for glare-free reading in direct sunlight--a point that Amazon happily points out in its promotion of the new model. Like the Kindle 2, the Kindle DX also has integrated global 3G wireless, which comes at no extra cost. By contrast, if you want 3G wireless, you'll have to pay $130 extra for the iPad that supports 3G, and pay for the AT&T data service (monthly plan).
That said, even at $379, the Kindle DX carries quite the premium over the now $189 for Kindle 2. Or, make that $149 if you can hop over to Woot.com today and pick one up on the cheap, a sale that's likely a nod to Amazon's purchase of Woot this week.
The Kindle DX is available for pre-order now, and will ship on July 7.