Amazon revealed an expanded lineup of Kindle E-readers Thursday that will directly compete with Apple’s iPad and strengthen its command on the e-reader market, introducing the Kindle Fire HD with two sizes, the Kindle Paperwhite–a night time version of the Kindle with an unobtrusive integrated light, and improving on the original Kindle Fire‘s processing speed by double and lowering its price to $159, a price cut of $40. Amazon also lowered the price of the Kindle Touch, the company’s entry-level e-reader down to $69.
Customers can choose between a 7-inch and a 8.9-inch models of the Kindle Fire HD that will require a $49.99/year 4G data package–a considerable savings over rival tablets. If you don’t want to bother with data plans, there are wi-fi versions, and all will have at least 16GB of storage space and up to 32GB for an additional $50, a much better display and faster processing speed than the original Kindle Fire.
Here’s the breakdown of the different models.
Kindle Fire HD– 7-inch
Pre-orders available now, Ships on September 14
16 GB – $199
32 GB – $249
• 13.9 ounces 7.6″ x 5.4″ x 0.4″
• Dual-band 2.4Ghz and 5 Ghz frequencies, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
• 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core
• Access to Amazon Video’s movie library, MP3 music library, magazines, books, audiobooks, Facebook, Netflix, HBO GO, Twitter, Pandora apps, and games.
• Support for Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, Facebook, Exchange calendar
• Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera
• Free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content
• Kindle FreeTime – a unique experience for the kids in your life including daily screen limits and access to age appropriate content. Free on every Kindle Fire HD.
• 10-pt. multi-touch screen display 1280 x 800 high definition LCD, reduced screen glare, and wide angle viewing.
• Up to 720P HD
• Dolby audio, dual-driver stereo speakers.
• 11 hours of battery life
• Whispersync technology to switch between audio book or Kindle books, games, and for movies.
• HDMI Out port
• Content supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible Enhanced format (AAX), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, PCM/WAVE, OGG, WAV, MP4, AAC LC/LTP, HE-AACv1, HE-AACv2, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, HTML5, CSS3, MP4, 3GP, VP8(.webm)
Kindle Fire HD–8.9 inch
Pre-orders available now, Ships on November 20
$299 Wi-Fi Only 16 GB
$369 Wi-Fi Only 32 GB
$499 4G LTE 32 GB
$599 4G LTE 64 GB
• Features everything the 7-inch versions offer listed above
• 10-pt. multi-touch screen display 1920 x 1200 high definition LCD, reduced screen glare, and wide angle viewing.
• Up to 1080P HD
• 20 ounces 9.45″ x 6.5″ x 0.35″
• Battery life has not been confirmed yet.
This is an aggressive move towards Apple because Amazon has the content to deliver in an easy system, an intuitive interface and user experience and a store integrated into the device. You can get all of Amazon Prime, Instant Video, and the free Lending Library plus the use of Amazon’s cloud
Yes, it’s true you can do plenty more with an iPad, however if you’re planning on using the tablet solely as an entertainment machine, to streamline the process at which you get movies, television, books, music, and games, this is a pretty impressive device, especially at the cost. The yearly data plan alone is eye opening and Amazon is claiming faster Wi-Fi download speeds at 31 MBPS as compared to the latest version of the iPad at 22MBPS.
The one thing I didn’t see test-driven is how good digital comics look on them. Comixoloxy is available to Kindle Fire users so thinking about the geek-driven end users, I would have liked to have seen that be a part of the presentation as that could be a major target of these color e-reader/tablet users.
For those not ready to step up to the tablet market, and simply just want the latest and greatest in e-readers, Amazon also rolled out the Kindle Paperwhite, which has a front light technology that allows just the reader to view the screen and not those around them be blinded by the screen. It’s rated with a 8-week battery life before a charge is needed and there are two versions, a 3G model for $179 and a Wi-Fi only model at $119. The 3G wireless is free and is just for downloading books. Other features of the Paperwhite include 62% more pixels for increased resolution, 25% better contrast, 6 fonts, 8 sizes, and can hold up to 1,100 books. Storage is 2GB with unlimited Kindle cloud storage and download speed for books is under 60 seconds and the dimensions are 7.8 ounces and 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″. The Kindle Keyboard 3G and the Kindle DX is still available for those who just have to have a keyboard, but Kindle is trying to move all of its new customers towards the multi-touch touch screens.
That’s what Amazon is bringing to the table and now we’ll see what Apple will do to respond to that in a week. Many speculated that Apple’s big announcement could be a variety of things, one of which includes a smaller version of the iPad. If it is that, consumers have a new bar to compare it to because the Kindle Fire HD is something that should continue to grow its share of the tablet market, especially for those needing entertainment on the go.