Amazon Announces Kindle Paperwhite and Fire HD; Updates Others
Amazon held a press conference just moments ago where many were expecting the unveiling of a new Kindle Fire, e-readers, and more. The conference has just wrapped up, so what did Amazon show off? Well, the retail giant certainly did not disappoint, as it introduced the new Kindle Paperwhite that features a sharper display, lighting from the front, and capacitive touch, an updated Kindle Fire with a new processor, double the RAM, and a new price, the Kindle Fire HD with more storage and a massive screen resolution, and the $69 Kindle, which is nearly the same as last year's $79 model, just more affordable.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a display with 25% more contrast, 62% more pixels, and 212ppi. The font style and size can be easily adjusted with the capacitive touchscreen, but the real star is the frontlighting. Four years of research and development went into the lighting system, which projects the light onto the display and is nano imprinted for even distribution. The touchscreen also controls the lighting level, as there are no buttons at all on the Paperwhite. The e-reader is 9.1mm thick, but it packs a battery capable of eight weeks of life with the light on.
The Kindle Fire has received an update with a new processor, double the RAM (1GB now), better battery life, and 44% better performance. However, the main attraction is that Kindle Fire HD, which comes in two sizes: a 7" and an 8.9". The 7" is nearly the same as the old, except for a larger 1280x800 resolution, while the 8.9" features a massive 1920x1200 resolution at 254ppi, an 8.8mm thickness, and weighs only 20 ounces. It packs a TI OMAP 4470 processor that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claims is better than NVIDIA Tegra 3, dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus (a first for a tablet), and two wireless antennas that can alternate to find the best signal. Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology is built into the Kindle Fire HD and the two antennas are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. WiFi is supposedly 41% faster than the iPad 3, which is key for a device built for streaming. The touch sensor is laminated for 25% less glare and sharper text, plus there is a front-facing HD camera for video chats.
Storage space on the Kindle Fire HD starts at 16GB, with the OS only taking up 2GB on both it and the Fire. The tablet still has cloud streaming as its main source of content, and Amazon has added new features for Whispersync. Audiobooks and games are now stored with Whispersync, so you never have to worry about losing your spot in either. Audiobooks let you listen to the book and then pick up reading where you left off. Games are stored in Whispersync so you never lose any progress, not even for any unlocked levels. There is a new Kindle FreeTime mode with parental controls so you can easily keep track of what your kids read, watch, or play. All of your music is stored in the cloud, and those dual antennas help get rid of buffering for seamless streaming.
You can pre-order the Kindle Paperwhite today for $119 or $179 for the 3G version, and both ship on October 1. The $69 Kindle ships on September 14. The old Kindle Fire, dubbed the Kindle Fire SD internally by Amazon, will be available on September 14 for $159, while the Kindle Fire HD ships on November 20 at $199 for the 7" 16GB model and $299 for the 8.9" 16GB. There will be a Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE for $499, which features 32GB of storage, the 8.9" display, access to AT&T's 4G LTE network, and a $50 yearly fee. That yearly fee nets you 250MB of data each month (AT&T charges $14.99 per month for that), 20GB of cloud storage, and $10 appstore credit. It will ship on November 20 just like the other Fire HD models.
That is an insane amount of Kindles for some pretty affordable prices, with the only question being, "which to buy?" The pictures below are of the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite.