Amazon posted the big announcement, which was expected to be made today. The online store that revolutionized the e-reader with the Kindle is taking their product a few steps further with not one but three new devices, one of which could give the iPad a run for its money.

Technically, there are four new devices, however the only difference between two of them is the 3G option. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the big device. The Kindle Fire, which is available for pre-order and ships November 15th, offers a color touch-screen much like the Nook and the iPad, and features Amazon’s new Fire-exclusive browser Amazon Silk, which from the video (below) appears to have been specially designed for web-browsing on the device. What’s more, the cost is pennies compared to the iPad and cheaper than Barnes & Noble Nook Color.

Will the Fire beat out the iPad in overall quality? I’m going to guess no. The Fire doesn't have a camera or a data-plan/3G option, however given the features it does have, which include web browsing, free cloud storage for Amazon digital content, an app store, and the ability to watch movies, TV shows, read magazines and books, at $199.99, I doubt Amazon’s going to have a hard time selling these. Moreover, as a satisfied customer of a Kindle, I expect people will get a lot for their money on this device.

The one thing the Fire lacks is the very thing that, for many, has made the Kindle an essential device, even with the iPad/iPhone compatible Kindle app. The E Ink display on the old Kindle, which makes the reading experience less like you’re reading off of a computer and more like you’re reading an actual book, is preferable to some than a device with a backlit screen. Granted, this requires the use of a reading-light in the dark, but the E Ink technology is much easier on the eyes than reading from a computer screen or tablet, in my experience. Plus, there's virtually no glare, which makes outside reading a breeze.

Amazon is offering two new Kindles in addition to the two they already sell, giving those of us who prefer the E Ink display some upgraded alternatives to the old Kindle. The new Kindle, which is available to purchase today, is 30% lighter (weighing less than 6 oz.) 18% smaller with the same 6” screen and it’s just $79 (with ads, $109 without ads). As you’ll see in the photo below, a big part of the size decrease is likely due to the lack of keyboard at the bottom.

The Kindle Touch (below) ships on November 21st and appears to be the best of both worlds between the Kindle and the Fire. While utilizing the non-backlit screen, users no longer have to rely on the side and bottom buttons to navigate. Also smaller and lighter than the old Kindle (now known as the “Kindle Keyboard"), this one costs the same as the Kindle Keyboard’s Wifi-only version at $99, and slightly more than the Kindle 3G at $149.00. Here's a photo of the Kindle Touch:

For those of you interested in the technology involved in the Amazon Silk browser, this video breaks it down somewhat.

Read the full product descriptions for all of the Kindles here.

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