From a dedicated e-book reader, the Kindle diversifies into simple devices, touch e-readers and a new tablet. These new products will be released November 15 by Amazon.

The Kindle e-book reader has become one of the more popular devices in its category. Its manufacturer, Amazon, announced today not only a new version of this popular e-reader, but four separate members of what now can be considered the Amazon Kindle portable gadget family - the Kindle, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire. These new items span from slimmed-down and update simple e-reader, QWERTY-equipped reader similar to last year's version, a touch-screen e-ink device, and a sleek tablet.

What is now considered the basic Kindle model is a screen with only a few navigation buttons. The Kindle, as well as the Kindle Keyboard and the Kindle touch are available for one price with what Amazon refers to as "Special Offers," or advertisement images that appear on-screen in the device's sleep mode, or without the ads for $30 more. The Kindle is $79, the Kindle Touch $99, the Kindle Keyboard also $99. Additionally, the Kindle Touch 3G model has international, contract-free mobile network connectivity as previous models have, which is $149 with ads or $189 without. GigaOm's review of the Kindle concludes that it has been streamlined to do its essential function while being light, inexpensive, and pocket-sized.

As for the tablet, the Kindle Fire has only one price - $199. It is the only Kindle that does not use e-ink, and runs on a custom version of Android mobile OS. It will run its own Silk Web browser, some games and other apps from the Amazon appstore, video and other light tasks. Optimized for media consumption, device owners can access movies, TV shows, music and e-books from Amazon's catalog. Since the Kindle Fire has a seven-inch screen, it may not be as comfortable for extended sessions of use other than for reading, CNET believes that this is not a direct iPad challenger - this tablet has a much lower price than the $499 Apple tablet. Less geeky than a full tablet, more fully featured than an iPod touch, not marketed as an Android device - according to CNET's review, the Kindle Fire competes with all mobile devices, yet none of them.

By Ivory King