Amazon’s long-term vision for digital e-readers is paper. Literally, a device that looks, feels and acts like paper, with the exception of it being a screen that can refresh and interact with the reader. Though that dream is years or decades away, the all-new Amazon Kindle Voyage may be the closest thing to it yet.

On Wednesday, the Seattle-based book-selling giant unveiled the ultra-light (6.3 ounces, an ounce lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite), pleasingly thin (7.6 mm) and ultra-bright and sharp Kindle Voyage E Ink-based e-reader, along with a slew of other tablet upgrades and innovation.

With its 300 pixel-per-inch (ppi) resolution, 6-inch, all-glass face and single-mold magnesium body, the $199 Kindle Voyage represents the high end of Amazon’s e-reader experience. The face is all glass with a black border surrounding the monochromatic screen. On either side of the reader face are two thin lines. A gentle press anywhere along those lines advances and turns back a page. Amazon even built in a very subtle bit of haptic feedback to let you know the thing is working. It was so subtle, though, that I could barely feel it. You can also advance pages via a swipe on the touch screen.

Amazon also revealed a low-end model, the $79 Kindle, which looks like the Voyage’s ugly stepbrother. Where the Voyage is all clean lines and svelte profile, the Kindle is boxy and average looking (only 167 ppi). It does offer a touch interface, but it’s powered by infrared sensors around the screen edge instead of using an actual touch panel built into the screen. There’s no built-in reading light.

The more attractive Kindle Paperwhite remains in the middle at $119. It does get a storage upgrade (4G, the same as the Voyage) and some software enhancements coming to all the Kindle e-reader devices.

X-Ray tells you about a book’s characters and key terms will now include images and notable clips. The last addition uses content analysis to derive key passages that can help you get up to speed on the book. So, if you put down a tome for a time and want to remind yourself what’s going on, you might zip through these snippets. It also sounds like a great way for students to avoid actually reading books.

Amazon has also enhanced dictionary features within the readers. A new tool called Word Wise will show definitions over words as you’re reading. While it sounds like this could clutter up the reading experience, Amazon showed us how you can use a slide to control the number of definitions you see or turn Word Wise off altogether. What we saw looked like very short, tiny, but readable definitions over the words. We’ll reserve judgment on whether or not this is useful.

Amazon bought Goodreads social reading platform over a year ago and is further integrating the experience into all Kindle reading devices. It’s now easier to add your books to the Goodreads shelf and share your reading habits with friends. Amazon said the social platform now has 30 million members. We’d be curious to know how many of you are using it with any of the Amazon Kindle reading services.

Author: Lance Ulanoff

Source: Mashable