Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Amazon apparently discontinues Kindle Touch in favor of Paperwhite

Amazon has apparently discontinued the Kindle Touch, which started at $99, in favor of the new Kindle Paperwhite, which starts at $119 and is still experiencing 4- to 6-week shipping delays. The company also discontinued the 9.7″ Kindle DX this month.

Amazon Kindle Touch
Amazon Kindle Touch
It appears that Amazon is no longer selling the Kindle Touch, the touchscreen e-reader that preceded the front-lit Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon also seems to have discontinued the large-screen Kindle DX last week.
I’ve asked the company for comment, but the Kindle Touch’s product page lists it as “currently unavailable,” and a link points to “a newer model of this item,” the Kindle Paperwhite. The Touch is also no longer shown in Amazon’s Kindle lineup.

The change leaves consumers who want a Kindle right now with limited options. The Kindle Paperwhite has been sold out since early October and its product page still says it won’t ship for four to six weeks. The bare-bones, non-touchscreen Kindle, $69 with ads and $89 without, is available, as is the old Kindle Keyboard, $139 with 3G and ads.

It seems Amazon considers the front-lit Kindle Paperwhite the new normal — that there is no reason you’d choose an e-reader without a light over one with a light. But the Paperwhite with ads, at $119, is $20 more expensive than the Touch with ads, likely due to the inclusion of a capacitive touchscreen; the old model uses infrared sensors to “see” a touch. (The Paperwhite also has a higher-resolution screen.)

The Paperwhite and Touch are also not completely identical in other ways: As Amazon notes in a special disclaimer page through a link on the Kindle Paperwhite’s product page, the Paperwhite doesn’t have audio or text-to-speech and has 2 GB of storage rather than the 4 GB on the Touch. In addition, the company notes that “under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even.” (I didn’t have a problem with this when I tested the Paperwhite, but I only tested it for a week.)

In the UK, the Kindle Touch is only available through Amazon’s retail partners, like Tesco. The same may be true in the U.S.

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