Amazon Reveals $299 8.9" Kindle Fire HD, $499 LTE Model with $50 Yearly Data Plan
September 6, 2012 2:05 PM
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Kindle Fire HD 7"
Kindle Fire HD features 8.9" IPS display with 1920x1200 resolution
As the only company that has released a tablet that has managed to take a dent out of Apple's iPad sales (the Kindle Fire accounts for
22% of U.S. tablet sales
), many people are looking forward to seeing what Amazon's next generation Kindle Fire has in store. The first generation Kindle Fire made a splash with a $199 price point and 7" form-factor, but Amazon is looking to expand the lineup’s appeal with second generation the devices.
The first up is a refreshed 7" model. It keeps the same look as the original, but includes a faster processor and twice the RAM. In addition, the price has been slashed from $199 to $159. It's hard to argue with faster performance and a cheaper price tag.
But the big announcement is the Kindle Fire HD. This new tablet is available with a 7" (1280x800) or 8.9" IPS display (1920x1200). The 8.9" Kindle Fire HD is only 8.8mm thick and weighs just 1.25 pounds. Powering the Kindle Fire HD is a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos even took at a dig at the Apple iPad by announcing that the Kindle Fire HD comes with dual stereo speakers that feature Dolby Digital Plus technology. The Kindle Fire HD also includes dual Wi-Fi antennas an MIMO compared to a single Wi-Fi antenna on the iPad and Nexus 7. Bezos says this allows its Kindle Fire HD tablets to outperform all competitors in Wi-Fi bandwidth tests.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" showing "FreeTime"
Another interesting feature that Amazon is introducing with the Kindle Fire HD is FreeTime. FreeTime allows a parents to setup profiles on the device so that children will only have access to "kid-friendly" content while the grownups can still have access to entire spectrum of content. The profiles will also allow parents to limit how much time their child plays on the device.
The Kindle Fire HD will be available with 16GB of storage capacity and also includes HDMI out and Bluetooth. The 7" model will be priced at $199 (ships September 14) while the 8.9" model rings in at $299 (ships November 20).
Amazon also announced one additional member to the Kindle Fire HD family. The Kindle Fire HD LTE 4G model is priced at $499, includes 32GB of storage, and comes with an amazing data package. For just $49.99/year, you get 250MB of bandwidth per month, 20GB of cloud storage space, and a $10 in Appstore credit. Can you say game changer?
The Kindle Fire HD LTE 4G will ship on November 20.
For those that prefer Amazon's more traditional line of e-readers, the company also today announced the Kindle Paperwhite. The Kindle Paperwhite features a higher resolution screen with 212 ppi (62 percent more pixels than previous model) that offers whiter whites and blacker blacks.
The capacitive touch screen device is 9.1mm thick, weighs just 7.5 ounces, and had an 8-week battery life. It costs $119 and will ship on October 1. The Kindle Paperwhite 3G will also ship on October 1 for $179.
Even further done the e-reader ladder is the standard "Kindle". Amazon has updated the Kindle to include new fonts and crisper text, and has dropped the price from $79 to $69. It will ship on September 14.
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9/6/2012 4:26:29 PM
If the 7" has the same 1920 x 1200 resolution, that would be pretty impressive - you could get more resolution on a 7" tablet for $159 than you can on a 23" eIPS display for $200...
The 8.9" represents a nice push from Amazon. The iPad2 is roughly comparable in size and performance (probably faster graphics, probably slower processor), but lacks the sharper screen and is currently priced $100 higher. Even if Apple were to drop the price of the iPad2 to $299, on technical merits the 8.9" Fire still manages to do a bit better.
Amazon's subsidizing the cost of LTE with the radio - $200 difference from wifi to LTE? It includes more onboard memory, but that's still a hefty bump - though $200 for 16GB and LTE is a bit less than the $230 Apple charges for 16GB, LTE, and GPS (which people also complain about). That said, $50 for a year's worth of data is pretty sweet compared to the plans the iPad gets. It would be nice if you could roll it over so if you use nothing for 11 months, you'll get 3GB of use in the 12th month.
Looks like the holiday season tablets will be a fight between Apple's iPad mini, iPad2, and (new?) iPad HD and the Kindles... should be interesting.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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