Amazon packed a boatload of new products, services and information into its Santa Monica media event Thursday morning. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced a trifecta of new Kindle Fire Tablets, new software services to improve the tablet experience, and updated Kindle e-reader models.
On the e-reader front, Amazon introduced a new E-Ink Kindle, The Paperwhite. It’s 9.1mm thick and 7.5 ounces, with a 212 PPI front-lit display so you can read in the dark–just as we had hoped–and a black, buttonless bezel. New software features designed to enhance the reading experience include “Time to Read,” which gives you estimates of how long it’ll take you to finish a book, or the chapter you’re on, and X-Ray, which helps you learn more about the characters in a book. You can also purchase books directly from author biography pages now.
The base model of the Kindle Paperwhite is $119; the 3G version is $179. These are available for order today, and will begin shipping October 1. Amazon also dropped the price of the original Kindle from $79 to $69. It features minor improvements to fonts and texts, and will begin shipping September 14.
The bigger deal, however, is the company’s new tablet. Amazon debuted a next generation Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire HD. It’s got great guts, with a TI OMAP 4470 Processor and double the RAM of its predecessor so things should run smoothly. The tablet is 8.8mm thick, weighs 20 oz, and has a 254 PPI 8.9-inch display. For WiFi, it uses MIMO technology, which basically means it uses dual antennas to establish a better connection. It’s the first tablet to incorporate MIMO, which Amazon claims makes its WiF 41 percent faster than the iPad’s. The Kindle Fire HD also has stereo speakers with Dolby sound and a front-facing HD camera. On the software side, a feature called X-Ray for video makes it a snap to find information on actors and movies through IMDB. It also includes a feature called Kindle Free Time, which lets you set time limits for when your kids are using the tablet.
Amazon also debuted a 4G LTE version of the Kindle Fire HD. It has 32 GB of storage, and a data plan that includes 250 MB per month, 20 GB of cloud storage, and a $10 Amazon credit for only $50 a year.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD with 16GB of storage is $199 and begins shipping September 14. The 8.9-inch model is $299 and ships November 20. The Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE is $500 and also ships November 20. The original Kindle Fire got a price drop to $159– but why would you grab that when you can get so much more for only an extra $40?
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