Amazon broke into the e-book reader market in 2007 with their new handheld Kindle. Amazon designed the Kindle to offer users a comfortable reading experience, as well as give them the ability to shop for and purchase books when away from the computer. The unique features of the Kindle have made it the number one e-reader on the market, according to a Change Wave survey conducted in 2010.
The central technology of the Kindle is the electronic ink ---E ink --- display, which consists of tiny plastic capsules that contain black and white particles. When the Kindle sends an electrical charge to these capsules, it causes the particles to move, altering the display. While this system cannot display color or refresh as quickly as an LCD screen, it has the advantage of not requiring a constant source of power to display text. E ink only uses electricity when the display changes, and the screen can display a static page indefinitely without loss of power.
The Kindle features a built-in Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to connect to your home network or any free Wi-Fi hotspot. The first time the Kindle discovers a new network, you have to enter the password, and it will connect automatically from then on. Once your Kindle is online, you can browse the Amazon store, download free samples of many titles and even purchase books directly, delivered to your Kindle in moments. In addition, you can access the Internet using the Kindle's built-in web browser.
If you want more freedom than a Wi-Fi connection offers, you might purchase a Kindle with a built-in 3G wireless connection. Amazon provides this connection free of charge, and offers service in 100 countries and territories. With a 3G connection, there's no need for a wireless network to shop for books online; simply turn the Kindle's wireless receiver on and it will automatically sync and connect with the Kindle store anywhere it can find a signal. Amazon offers coverage maps so users can determine what kind of service to expect in their area.
When you purchase e-books from the Kindle store, your e-reader automatically downloads them into its on memory via the wireless or 3G connection. The Kindle has 4 gigabytes of storage, which Amazon estimates will hold around 3,500 books. Amazon also keeps a record of every book you buy in case you need to re-download them for any reason. If you delete or lose a book, or purchase a new Kindle, you can simply connect to Amazon's servers and begin rebuilding your library.
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