At an event today in Santa Monica, California, Amazon finally officially unveiled its new line of Kindle products — including not one, but three new Kindle Fire tablets. It was obvious that it was coming, since it was about time for Amazon's annual refresh of its line of eReaders, in addition to the fact that the first generation Kindle Fire has been sold out for about a week now.
First, though, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got everybody warmed up with the new Kindle Paperwhite, which features an e-Ink screen but with a sharper, brighter front-lit screen, much like Barnes & Noble's Nook with Glow Light. It also features a capacitive touchscreen, rather than the IR-based systems seen in other e-Ink readers.
As for this year's Kindle Fire, the "basic" model features a bigger battery, a new processor and 1GB of RAM (News - Alert) — twice that of last year's model. The only other major hardware change is its front-facing camera, something the Kindle's biggest competitor, the Google (News - Alert) Nexus 7, lacks. The updated Kindle Fire also features a price point of $159, undercutting the price of the Nexus 7 by $40.
Image via www.amazon.com
While a Kindle refresh wasn't a surprise, the two Kindle Fire HD models unveiled were. The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, in particular, stole the show with its 1920 x 1200 resolution, a TI OMAP 4470 processor, dual speakers, a front-facing HD camera, built-in MIMO Wi-Fi and an HDMI output. The Kindle Fire HD will go for $299 for the 16GB version when its ships on November 20th, while the Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE will land on the same day for $499. This version will feature 250MB of 4G data usage per month from AT&T (News - Alert).
The other Kindle Fire HD model sports a seven-inch display like the basic model, but otherwise sports very similar specs, including 1200p resolution, to the 8.9-inch version. The seven-inch Kindle Fire HD will cost $199 at launch.
Despite the exciting specs and options this new generation of Kindle Fires brings, it'll still be interesting to see if the Nexus 7 will retain its popularity. Google still does have its advertising capabilities behind it. Indeed, Amazon's aggressive pricing demonstrates just how worried it is.
“Amazon is clearly spooked by Google’s Nexus 7 coming in at $200 for a much more capable device, and it’s upped its own hardware specs while reducing the price to $159, which is clearly an attempt to keep it somewhat attractive in the face of that new competition from Google and Asus,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum (News - Alert).
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Edited by Brooke Neuman