Amazon.com will introduce two new versions of its Kindle eReader on July 29, and one will sell for $139, reports the New York Times—the lowest price yet for the device. By firing another shot in an eReader price war leading up to the year-end holiday shopping season, the e-commerce giant turned consumer electronics manufacturer is signaling it intends to do battle with Apple and its iPad, as well as the other makers of eReaders like Sony and Barnes & Noble. Unlike previous Kindles, the $139 “Kindle Wi-Fi” will connect to the internet using only Wi-Fi instead of a cell-phone network as other Kindles do. Amazon is also introducing a model to replace the Kindle 2, which it will sell for the same price as that model, $189. Both new Kindles are smaller and lighter, with higher contrast screens and crisper text. Amazon hopes that at $10 less than the least expensive reading devices from Barnes & Noble and Sony, the new $139 Kindle has broken the psychological price barrier for even occasional readers. The new Kindles, which will ship Aug. 27, have the same six-inch reading area as earlier Kindles but weigh about 15 percent less and are 21 percent smaller. The Kindles have twice the storage, up to 3,500 books…

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staff and wire services reports