Yes, the Kindle Voyage is unquestionably the star of tonight's announcements from Amazon. But here's another thing that millions of people will likely be buying come October: a $79 Kindle with a touchscreen, faster performance, and more memory. (If you're wondering, that price is indeed "with offers.") Amazon's entry-level e-reader is seeing some nice upgrades this year, with an all-touch interface serving as the most obvious change. The company is officially bidding farewell to physical controls on Kindle. Sorry button fans; you can press those side bezels all you want, but nothing will happen. If you've ever picked up a Kindle Paperwhite, you already know how this works. Amazon's touch navigation hasn't led to many complaints for that product, and many consumers will probably be thrilled to see it move down the line. In terms of build, the base Kindle is starting to feel a bit blocky and uninspired, but it still carries out its core function — reading books — wonderfully.
It's also now 20 percent faster, Amazon says, and offers twice the built-in memory so you can carry more ebooks with you at any given time. Nearly all of the software features on the higher-up Kindles are available with the cheaper model, too. Those include Goodreads integration, X-Ray, Kindle FreeTime, and a vocabulary builder; the latter two are aimed at younger readers. And later this fall, Amazon will expand the feature set further when it adds support for family libraries and its $9.99-per-month Kindle Unlimited subscription service through a software update. All in all, it's exactly what you'd expect from a new Kindle: iterative but substantial improvements to a formula that Amazon has mastered. Pre-orders start right now, and it's shipping on October 2nd.