The third-generation Kindle is here. Well, it was here—for five days. Amazon has sold through its entire stock of new Kindles, in both $189 Wi-Fi + 3G and $139 Wi-Fi only flavors. We already know about the longer battery life, 50% better contrast ratio, and other basic improvements, but the Kindle 3 has more up its sleeve than you might expect.
- The Kindle has a microphone – According to the manual, the microphone is currently disabled. But what will it do in the future? Could we be dictating notes to our Kindles someday? Just wait till the hackers dig into this one.
- Free PDF document delivery – To email a PDF to your Kindle, but avoid any kind of 3G delivery fees, tack @ free.kindle.com onto your email address. The file will only be downloaded over Wi-Fi.
- Wi-Fi Audible delivery – Audible audio books can be transferred to the Kindle over Wi-Fi, no computer necessary. The Kindle will also automatically shut off 3G service when connected to Wi-Fi for faster downloads.
- More PDF enhancements – The PDF reader now supports six contrast options, and a cursor can be displayed on the screen to highlight words.
- Web browser enhancements -- With its new webkit browser, Kindle 3 can zoom, fit page width to the device, or display websites at actual size. It also features a text-only Article Mode. Ah, doesn’t that bring you back to the days of 28.8k modems?
- Download Monitoring – Antsy readers can watch their books download in real-time.
- Time Settings – The current time can now be set manually, handy when outside the 3G coverage area.
- Full screen – The book header now auto-hides, leaving a bit of extra space for text.
- Two dictionaries – The Oxford Dictionary of English joins The New Oxford American Dictionary for international support.
- Alt-Del combo – Once again clear an entire line of text with ease.
The Kindle now sports its and audio and power controls and ports along the bottom edge of the device, beside the shiny new microphone. If the lower price-point wasn’t tempting enough, do any of these features push you over the edge?