What Does the Kindle Do?

By G.D. Palmer

The Kindle is a portable e-reader marketed by Amazon.com. This machine allows users to purchase, download and read electronic books, magazines, newspapers and other digital publications through Amazon. The Kindle can also use some e-publications that aren't Amazon-proprietary. Different models of the Amazon Kindle offer different features and screen size.

Portability

The first-generation Kindle was released by Amazon in late 2007. It offered a 6-inch grayscale screen in an 8 by 5.3 by 0.8-inch package. The second-generation Kindle slimmed down to just 0.36 inches thick. The third generation, often called Kindle 3, was released in mid-2010, and is only 7.5 by 4.8 by 0.34 inches, making it more convenient to carry. Amazon produces a parallel line of Kindles, called Kindle DX. These larger devices measure 10.4 by 7.2 by 0.38 inches with a 9.7-inch screen. The Kindle 3 weighs only 8.5 to 8.7 ounces, while the Kindle DX weighs 18.9 ounces.

Light-independent Text

Amazon's Kindle uses E-ink technology, which allows users to view the screen at any angle and in bright light, including sunlight. The third-generation Kindle uses E Ink Pearl technology, but does not provide color display. Instead, Kindle shows up to 16 levels of gray.

Wireless Transfer

The Kindle includes wireless technology called Whispernet, over which users can purchase publications and download them to the device. Whispernet comes free with the purchase of your Kindle, and requires no subscription. Whispernet may incur charges if used outside the Kindle owner's home country, however. This wireless technology includes a service called Whispersync, which allows users to synchronize information from one device to another, including data about their reading progress, bookmarks and marginal notes. Whispernet allows Amazon to automatically update information on a user's Kindle without the need for a special login or download process. The Kindle 3 also offers a 3G-compatible model at an extra cost.

Ebook Storage

The Kindle can store a large number of books, magazines and other texts in a very small space, making it useful for professionals on the go, students, or people with limited library space. According to PC World, the third-generation Kindle can accommodate up to 3,500 books. The Kindle 2 could store only about 1,500 books.