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Amazon slashes Kindle price to $189

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Amazon dropped the price of the smaller of its two Kindle ebook readers to $189, just hours after primary competitor Barnes & Noble lowered its Nook reader to $199.

Before today, the Kindle and Nook were both priced at $259.

The Kindle is a Linux-based handheld that lets you download and read ebooks from Amazon's online Kindle Books store. It includes a (free) wireless connection, and you can sync your book collection across others devices running Kindle software, including Windows desktops and notebooks, Macs, BlackBerries, iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. An Android version is in the works.

The device is somewhat clunky — but it works, it's lightweight, and its electronic ink is highly readable.

In October, US book giant Barnes & Noble challenged Amazon's Kindle with the Nook, an Android-based handheld. It offers a 6-inch "electronic ink" display for reading texts, as well as a smaller color screen for navigation — something you won't find on the Kindle. Whereas the Kindle includes a hardware keyboard, the Nook's secondary screen offers a software keyboard.

Like the Kindle, the Nook has a built-in cellular wireless connection (AT&T is the carrier). Plus, there's a built-in Wi-Fi adapter, which gives you free access the AT&T-powered hotspots in Barnes & Noble retail stores.

At launch, the Nook carried the same price tag as the Kindle. But on Monday, Barnes & Noble dropped the price by $60. Amazon promptly responded with its $70 drop.

Barnes & Noble is also taking pre-orders for a Wi-Fi-only version of the Nook that sells for $149. ®

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