What’s new in the K3

What’s new in the K3

I’ve decided to combine all this into one post, and I’ll add to it if I discover new things.

I’m using the term “K3″ to refer to the two Kindle models shipping August 27, 2010.  They could just as easily be called the K7 and K8, but if we look at it as two lines, the Kindle and the Kindle DX (which is how Amazon refers to them), there have been three morphologically different Kindles.  In that categorization, there have been:

Kindle: Kindle 1, Kindle 2 (Kindle 2a added the international radio, but the shape was the same), Kindle 3 (which comes in both wi-fi & 3g and just wi-fi configurations)

Kindle DX: There has been the Kindle DX (one added international access), and one could argue that the Kindle DX Graphite is a different model (because the screen technology is different), but the shape is the same, so I’m just going to consider it a variant.  ;)

The other choice is this:

  • K1
  • K2
  • KDX
  • K2 International
  • KDX International
  • KDX Graphite
  • K3 wi-fi and 3G (although that comes in either white or graphite colors)
  • K3 wi-fi only

You need this version to get…

  • Wi-Fi
  • Support for Cyrillic for Russian, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese, Korean
  • Audible menus
  • Sans Serif font
  • A microphone (but it isn’t enabled yet…it’s for future functionality)
  • The ability to see the download status while something is downloading

This version improves upon…

  • PDF reading: with this one, you can make notes, use the dictionary, and so on
  • The speed of “page turns”
  • The speed of the web browsing
  • The button noise (it’s quieter)
  • On-board memory (goes to 4gb)
  • The “footprint” (it’s smaller)
  • The dictionaries (it comes with two, now…one is the Oxford English)
  • Availability from England: it can be purchased in pounds from http://www.amazon.co.uk
  • There are now three fonts, including the regular, the condensed, and the sans serif
  • Downloading audiobooks…if you use wi-fi, you can now do it wirelessly (looks like Audible books may be in the Kindle store)…you used to have to download and transfer
  • The progress indicator now shows how much you have read in this session (not just in the book overall)
  • Battery life: it’s supposed to run a month (!) without Whispernet, up to ten days with it

Changes you might not like…

  • They took away the number buttons: you now use the symbol key to enter numbers (like the KDX), or use an Alt+a letter in the top row combo

Changes you’ll have to try out to decide…

  • The “page turn” buttons are much smaller
  • The power switch is on the bottom
  • The Home, Back and Menu buttons have been moved to the keyboard
  • The 5-Way has been changed from a joystick to a rocker
  • The volume controls are now on the bottom
  • The “page header” disappears when you go to the next or previous page after opening the book.  You can display it again by hitting Menu

It still doesn’t have…

  • Color
  • A touchscreen (but you may not want one)
  • EPUB support
  • A backlight (but I wouldn’t want one unless I could have a reflective option as well)

In case you are interested…

Kindle 6″ wi-fi and 3G $189

Kindle 6″ wi-fi only $139

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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12 Responses to “What’s new in the K3”

  1. James Says:

    I just bought a Kindle 2 a couple weeks ago. I was a bit upset when I heard the new one was coming out, but then I saw the nerfed keyboard and changed my mind. I’d appreciate the wi-fi and better contrast, but am quite happy with my full keyboard.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, James!

      That is going to give some people a bit of a pause, I think. I have to say, though, I’d love to test one out. :) There are elements to me that are big positive changes. I didn’t need the device to be any smaller, so I could have kept the number buttons…but I’m trying to think about how often I type numbers and it is rare.

      • James Says:

        I have one of the Bibles with direct verse look up (i.e., you can type in a verse number and double click “Find” and it goes straight to it.) Without the number keys, it would make it much, much harder. I can understand some people virtually never using the number keys, but I use them quite a bit. I’m guessing I got the last Kindle to ever have those keys though, so I count myself lucky in that regard. I agree that a smaller size doesn’t attract me. The contrast, battery life, and wifi are nice improvements though. I hope some of the software upgrades (better web browser, pdf viewer) make it to the K2… those are options they have no reason not to give those with a K2.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, James!

        Bible verses are one example where you might use the numbers a lot…thanks for pointing that out! You’ll still be able to enter the numbers, just not with a single click.

        My guess is that we will get some of the updates for our K2s…we were promised a software update for audible menus by the end of the summer, and I think we’ll get it (or an explanation). Otherwise, it may depend on the amount of memory the software needs. The Kindle DX says it has 4GB, with about 3.3 available to the user. The Kindle 3 says 4GB with about 3 available to the user. That suggests the improvements may take about .3 gig…that’s pretty big to cut out of the K2’s 1.4 gb available to the user.

        I do think we’ll get at least some of it, though. :)

  2. Sherri Says:

    The article in the Washington Post about the new Kindle mentioned that the page turn buttons work to the outside, not to the inside like the K2. That was one of the changes from the K1 to the K2 that I’ve had difficulty adapting to, so I’m happy to see it go back. It will give me ammunition for convincing my husband that he should use my 6 month old K2 to replace his K1, and let me have the K3 that’s on order! My hands are smaller, after all….

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      That’s interesting. My understanding was that the “push to the middle” style of the K2 was more helpful for those with limited tactile sense and debilitating conditions. The idea is that you might tend to slide past the edge you are pushing. If you do that going towards the outside, you can drop the device. (towards the middle, you are still holding it).

      However, the new buttons to look small enough that you may be able to push it while still having contact with the non-button part of the device, so that might be okay. With my K2, when I push a button, that finger or thumb is pretty much just on the button.

      I vote for you to get the K3…I don’t think I’ve ever heard from your husband. ;)

      • Sherri Says:

        I’ve had not a debilitating condition, but certainly a limiting physical condition during the time I’ve had my K2. At the time I got my K2, I was still recovering from a severe left wrist fracture. I like to hold the Kindle in my left hand to read (and the prev button is only on the left on the K2) and I found it somewhat uncomfortable to push the button with my reduced hand strength. Then, about a month ago, I broke my left hand (fairly minor break, fortunately), and again, my hand strength is reduced. With the button push on the outside, I could use the leverage of my hand to push the button, rather than just the strength of my thumb.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Sherri!

        I’m sorry to hear about your problems! The new Kindles have next and previous on both sides, which I think is better. I don’t know how easy the buttons will be to push, though…I’ll be interested to hear about that.

  3. delrond Says:

    great writeup on the Kindle 3 as you call it. Do you mind if we use your info when creating our own Kindle 3 review – don’t worry we will link back :)

    I am really excited about the new kindle and think that its now going to go mainstream like the ipod did.

    Danny – KindleCases.net

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Danny, thanks for writing!

      Sure, that’s fine…I appreciate you asking. I actually think of them as the Kindle 7 and 8, but more people are referring to them as the Kindle 3.

      Well, I’m not sure that $139 is still a mainstream price…but heavy readers are, unfortunately, not the mainstream. It may still need to get lower priced (and the same quality) before the occasional reader gets one. That will come, though.

  4. tuxgirl Says:

    Where did you see the info on two dictionaries? Is it still one at a time?

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