kindledx.jpgRetailing for $489, Amazon.com Inc launched the wide-screen Amazon Kindle DX this morning. Five universities will partner with Amazon to study students’ relationship with this pricey machine.

The device is about 1/3 of an inch thick; holds 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents; and features a 9.7″ diagonal e-ink screen with 16 shades of gray. The machine will ship in summer 2009.

In addition, Arthur Sulzberger joined Bezos on stage, introducing an experiment with the NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe. In areas where home delivery is not available, the company will offer discounted Kindle DX to readers.