The Kindle Paperwhite is certainly an impressive piece of electronic gadgetry. There's no doubt that it underlines Amazon's position as the market leader in the ebook reader market - and, in all probability, Amazon's claims that it is the most advanced ebook reader in the world are probably well founded (if somewhat brazen).
However, what is, in my opinion at least, just as interesting as the technical aspects, as the potential clues that there may be a subtle change in the way the ebook reader market is heading.
When the first Kindle launched, way back in November of 2007, it sold for $ 399. As is normal with new electronic gadgets, there was a strong downward trend in price, partly driven by economy of scale as sales volumes increased, partly driven by competition from other manufacturers.
The current entry level Kindle costs just $ 69. The Kindle Touch, which the Paperwhite replaces, started at $ 99.
The Paperwhite starts at $ 119. That price may fall in future of course, but for the moment at least, it looks like the plan is to provide more additional features rather than to keep dropping the price.
That's not so different to the notebook computer market. Prices fell rapidly in the early stages of market development - but now, new models tend to be at or around the same price level as the model being replaced - but with enhanced features.
The Kindle Paperwhite has 2GB of memory, of which 1.25 GB can be accessed by the user. That is enough for up to 1,100 Kindle books - but somewhat lower than the 4GB of the Kindle Touch and the Kindle Keyboard.
Nevertheless, it should be more than enough for the average user. Why would anyone want to pay more for the option to carry 3,600 books instead of 1,100 - especially when you have free cloud storage anyway?
The original Kindles all had the facility to play mp3 files and audio books. However, not many people actually made use of this. It's gone in the Paperwhite. Why put costs up for features that aren't seen as being particularly worthwhile?
The Paperwhite is a great piece of kit. It confirms Amazon as the market leader (by a country mile) in the ebook reader sector. Some of the features will be welcomed by many, others are less universally desirable.
Many people will be happy enough to turn on the bedside light rather than paying extra for an in-built light source for example. If you find yourself in that category, then you might be content to save yourself $ 50 and buy the entry level Kindle 4. The key thing is that you have the choice.
Whether you are interested in the basic entry level type of reader or you are happy to pay a little extra for the all singing, all dancing, feature laden edition, the signs seem to be there that the ebook reader market is maturing. Prices may have fallen as low, or close to as low, as they are likely to. Future readers may be at the same price as your current model - but with added features and functionality.