Kindle is Amazon.com's e-reader device as well as the name of its e-book reader applications. Utilizing E Ink technology, the Kindle displays 16 different shades of gray in high contrast to give the sensation of reading a regular book or newspaper. The device downloads new content through a WiFi connection or Amazon's free 3G "Whispersync" connection.
Books can be downloaded from Amazon's website, or directly from the Kindle store, accessible through the Kindle itself. Magazines, audiobooks, newspapers and some blogs are now available for the Kindle (a subscription fee may apply in some cases), expanding the device’s functionality beyond that of an e-book reader.
In 2009, Amazon released Kindle applications for Windows, Android, Apple, and BlackBerry devices on which people can download Kindle books, and read them on non-Kindle devices, such as computers, cell phones and tablets.
The environmental impact of e-readers, like the Kindle, is an issue of debate. While they can save trees, e-readers utilize various nonrenewable rare earth materials which must be mined at great cost to the environment. With new versions rolling out every few years, the devices can become obsolete fairly quickly.