Amazon announces larger-display Kindle DX

Amazon is targeting the lucrative textbook market with a new large-screen Kindle -- but at $489, is it too rich in this economy?

This morning at Pace University in New York City, Amazon announced its previously delayed large-screen Kindle e-reader, known formally as the Kindle DX.

The new device has a 9.7-inch screen and uses the same black-and-white E-Ink display as its predecessors. But the larger display area enables you to view a full-size 8.5-by-11-inch page without panning, scrolling, or zooming. That makes it big enough to display magazines, newspapers, and textbooks at full size and overcomes one of the limitations of the prior generation of e-readers. In addition, Kindle DX now includes first-class support for PDFs and a fully supported Web browser, instead of the previous "experimental" version (whatever that meant).

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Engadget covered the launch event with a live blog of the announcement and the first hands-on report.

While I think this new Kindle is a definite improvement over the Kindle 2.0, I don't understand why Amazon hasn't built in Wi-Fi support, especially if it is targeting students and have a full-blown browser. And for $489, the Kindle DX is not cheap -- even if you can get magazine subscriptions and New York Times bestsellers on the cheap. Perhaps we'll see offers from publishers with subsidized pricing.

Nonetheless, with 3.3GB of space and a large-screen display, this device could be a breakthrough not only with students, lawyers, engineers, and others who haul around lots of books, but also with anyone who regularly goes through a stack of magazines. The Kindle DX's large display and memory means you can haul around 50 years of Mad magazine if you want to. Who wouldn't love that?

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