Update: The listing for the new Kindle Paperwhite described below is back live on Amazon and appears to be staying, so shoppers can pre-order the new Kindle Paperwhite now (U.S.-only currently).
Amazon is revealing a new Kindle Paperwhite soon, and the cat’s out of the bag early thanks to an apparent accidental leak of product details by Amazon itself. Spotted by a forum poster from Zagreb, Croatia (via Verge), the updated info from Amazon’s site describes a Kindle Papwerwhite that’s mostly like its predecessor, with a few key tweaks that will make it a better e-reader than it already was, which is good because it was already pretty great.
The improvements with the next-generation Kindle Paperwhite (successor to the original version, which Amazon launched last year) has better contrast and improved screen reflectivity to deliver presumably more readability. It looks to offer the same basic hardware shell, including same screen/device size and bezel, and it has an improved built-in light (hopefully this means more even glow distribution). The page turns are supposedly better, thanks to an improved processor that’s 25 percent faster, and the touch grid has smaller squares for improved response to touch input.
Other improvements come on the software side, including Goodreads integration, and Kindle FreeTime. Goodreads will allow users to share reads, highlights and book ratings with the Goodreads social reader network, which was acquired by Amazon in March of this year. Kindle FreeTime is a feature introduced last September that restricts content on Kindle Fire software to specific titles to try to get kids to focus on learning, which means we’ll presumably see it lock down Paperwhite access in a similar, education-focused manner. No word yet whether these software features will come to older devices via an update, but that would make sense. Software features look to be arriving after the new Paperwhite itself, if the “coming soon” tags are any indication.
So in the end, it looks like what shoppers have to look forward to is an incremental update on Paperwhite hardware. That’s not exactly surprising, given the extremely positive reception for the first-generation device, but it would’ve been nice to see screen resolution improve to perhaps match up with the Kobo Aura HD, which boasts a 256 ppi screen.
The new Kindle will apparently ship on Sept. 30, so we won’t have long to wait to find out if this is indeed Amazon’s next-generation dedicated reader.