When the first Amazon Kindle was released in 2007, it was priced at USD 400. Each subsequent model added design improvements, capacity increases, and/or hardware enhancements, as well as lower prices. In 2010, Amazon introduced two new models, a Wi-Fi only model for USD 139 and a Wi-Fi plus 3G cellular network model for USD 189. This year, Amazon came up with a truly unique price reduction, one that we have never seen in the marketplace. Amazon started offering its two newest models for USD 114 and USD 164, respectively. To get this USD 25 reduction, they didn’t take anything away; instead, they added a feature called “Special Offers.” This brings the basic Kindle down to a very affordable price point, but it also brings something new – advertisements on the Kindle. We decided to take a look at the Wi-Fi Kindle with Special Offers to assess the cheapest Kindle ever, as well as to examine this distinctive marketing maneuver.

The Wi-Fi Kindle with Special Offers comes in a simple tan cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1. A picture of the Kindle is shown on the box. While other models come in either graphite or white, this version is only available in the dark gray graphite color.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special OffersFigure 1: The Kindle box

The contents of the box, shown in Figure 2, include the Kindle itself, a small Quick Start Guide, a USB cable, and a multi-voltage power adapter (100 V to 240 V). The power adapter connects to the USB cable for in-wall charging.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special OffersFigure 2: The contents of the box

As shown in Figure 3, at 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335" (190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm) and weighing 8.5 ounces (241 grams), the Kindle Special Offers is an excellent size and weight for reading. You can easily hold it for hours without any hand or wrist fatigue. The rounded corners and thin profile add to the overall good looks and useable design.

Kindle Wi-Fi with Special OffersFigure 3: The Kindle Special Offers

Setup of the Kindle is easy. Instructions for the initial charging, as shown in Figure 3, are found right on the screen. If you purchased your Kindle on the Web using your Amazon account, it will be pre-registered. If you purchased it elsewhere, you can follow the simple instructions to register your Kindle.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.