Amazon today showed off the latest in their Kindle line of products: the Kindle Fire HD, and the Kindle Paperwhite. On top of that, the existing Kindle and Kindle Fire got a nice price drop and a slight boost in specs.
Let’s take a look at what’s new from the world of Amazon:
1) Kindle Fire HD
The HD model is the new addition to the Kindle Fire line. It’s loaded with a hi-def screen and 16GB of storage. At $199, this isn’t bad for the introductory model of Amazon’s 7-inch tablet. This tablet launches September 14th.
Buying the slightly upgraded model at $299 will get you an 8.9-inch screen with a 1920×1200-pixel HD screen at 254ppi. This one arrives on November 20.
The $499 Fire is also equipped with a 8.9-inch screen at the same 1920×1200 resolution. It has 32GB of storage and a 4G LTE connection. $50 will get you a year of 4G. This Kindle also arrives on November 20.
Here are some additional factoids taken from Amazon’s press release:
• Ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless, powered by the latest generation 4G chipset, support for all 10 4G bands, and Amazon’s breakthrough 4G LTE data package—customers save hundreds of dollars in the first year compared to other 4G tablets.
• Stunning custom HD display with in-plane switching, Advanced True Wide polarizing filter and custom laminated touch sensor for 25% less glare with rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle.
• Fastest Wi-Fi of any tablet—dual antenna, dual-band, and MIMO—40% faster downloads and streaming compared to the next fastest tablet.
• High-performance processor and graphics engine for snappy and smooth performance.
• Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio—the standard in high-end audio—available for the first time on a tablet.
• Kindle Fire HD starts with 16 GB of local storage, enough to accommodate the larger file sizes of HD content.
• Exceptional battery life—7” Kindle Fire HD gets 11 hours of battery life.
• Front-facing HD camera with custom Skype application for video calling from anywhere in the world.
• New Amazon-exclusive features like X-Ray for Movies, X-Ray for Textbooks, Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice, Whispersync for Games, and Kindle FreeTime.
• World’s best content ecosystem—over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks and magazines.
• Best cross-platform interoperability, with Amazon apps available on the largest number of devices and platforms so customers can access content anytime, anywhere.
• Amazon’s top-rated, world-class customer service.
2) Kindle Paperwhite
The Paperwhite is beautiful. It’s Amazon’s update to the standard Kindle line. It’s called Paperwhite, because the screen is literally white, rather than having that greyish tone that eReaders have been equipped with up to now. The resolution has been increased by 62 percent (212ppi) and the contrast brought up by 25 percent, according to Amazon. It has an 8 week battery life and goes for $119, if you need the wifi-only model.
If you fork over $179, you will get the same features as above, but with the added 3G connection. The 3G service is free.
Both Paperwhite models arrive on October 1.
The Paperwhite has a touchscreen. It’s capacitive touch, and eliminates the need for buttons and a keyboard.
It’s front-lit screen makes it possible to read in the dark without disturbing your partner.
3) Kindle Fire: More Memory, Lower Price
The Kindle Fire (non-HD, is the main distinction here) will be dropped to $169. It’s also loaded with twice the memory and a faster processor. It’s not a huge difference, but the price drop makes it interesting, and it is now in impulse buy territory for someone wanting to own a tablet.
4) Kindle: Price Dropped to $69
The Kindle, which Amazon called “the smallest, lightest and most affordable Kindle ever” in their press release is now faster and will only cost you $69. Here is a portion of their press release:
“Introducing the new, latest generation Kindle — the smallest, lightest and most affordable Kindle ever is now even better, with new improved fonts, 15% faster page turns and a new, unbelievably low price: just $69. In addition, the new Kindle now supports children’s books and comics, and includes new parental controls. Weighing just 5.98 ounces, Kindle is small and light enough to fit easily in a pocket and take everywhere, and still features the same 6-inch electronic ink display that reads like real paper. At just $69, the new Kindle is the perfect entry Kindle for young and adult readers alike.”
The updated Kindle fire will arrive on September 14.
Amazon’s on the Right Track
All in all, Amazon knows what they are doing. They announced prices and release dates for all their products. That’s more than we can say for many of the device makers out there. They are also selling content rather than hype. Kudos to you, Amazon.