Amazon Debuts Kindle, the iPod of Books

On the cover of this week's Newsweek is Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, holding what some might consider as Amazon's future, the Kindle, which is an eBook reader.

Dubbed by some as the iPod of books, the device sports a monochrome 6-inch screen and a minuscule keyboard.

The Kindle will use a proprietary network service, working through Sprint's EVDO network, to remain connected permanently.

The Kindle is about the size of a slim paperback novel and will allow users to search for a book on Amazon's website through its keyboard.

The device comes with built-in flash memory - with a capacity of roughly 200 titles - as well as a memory card reader to increase the capacity to several thousands.

A beta tester mentions that the screen, a crucial part of the whole e-book experience, is far better than a mainstream PDA or a LCD for example thanks to advances in Electronic Ink technology.

e-Ink also consumes less power as the screen only switches on when pages are "turned" and then switches off while the user reads, giving the e-book a 30 hour reading capacity on one charge with a 2 hour recharge time.

The Kindle will cost USD 399 with an initial library of 80,000 titles. Bestsellers and new books will start at USD 10 with classics and other less known books selling as low as USD 2.

There are a number of unknown including whether the service is protected by a DRM (Digital Rights Management) solution and whether the screen will be a touchscreen version.