The next step in the evolution of e-Ink technology sees 50 per cent better contrast resulting in sharper, clearer text and crisp, detailed images. Amazon's new graphite Kindle DX takes full advantage of the new technology, also offering a couple of new fonts, new security features and social networking integration. The new DX also comes in at over US$100 cheaper than its predecessor too.

It's not been that long since the Kindle DX was officially released. Nevertheless, Amazon has now announced a new improved version, and it's cheaper too. The new graphite-enclosed DX will be the first to feature the latest evolution in e-Ink technology, which the E Ink Corporation has called Pearl.

Amazon's Steve Kessel says that "with 50 percent better contrast and darker fonts, you'll find it easier than ever to read wherever you happen to be, whether it's outside in bright sunlight or under the low light of your living room."

As with the second generation model, the new 10.4 x 7.2 x 0.38 inch DX has a 9.7 inch screen at 1200 x 824 resolution with 16-levels of gray scale but now benefits from a new 10:1 contrast ratio and eight adjustable font sizes. Other new features include the ability to password lock the device and Facebook and Twitter integration. The new graphite casing is no heavier than the previous model, at 18.9 ounces and you still get 4GB of internal memory, which is enough to store around 3,500 titles.

The Kindle Store now sports over 620,000 ebooks, newspapers, magazines and blogs in addition to the million plus out of copyright books, including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice and Treasure Island. And any books you buy from the store are automatically backed up online in case of accidental deletion.

The graphite DX comes with an HSDPA modem (with fall back to EDGE/GPRS in low coverage areas) and free 3G wireless connectivity in over 100 countries. Amazon claims a couple of weeks reading on a single charge with the wireless technology turned off, which is reduced by half if turned on. Those familiar with the DX will no doubt be pleased that bookmarking and annotation is still undertaken via the QWERTY keyboard underneath the main display and navigation with a 5-way controller to the right.

Amazon also offers some experimental features, which are still under development. There's a basic web browser for reading mostly text-based sites like Wikipedia, an MP3 player and a text-to-speech application.

The new graphite Kindle DX is currently available for pre-order at a cost of US$379 with a shipping date of July 7.