Amazon's new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is impressive enough in its own right, thanks to high-end features and a competitive price of $299. But at the Kindle press event today, CEO Jeff Bezos announced something truly groundbreaking: a Kindle Fire with a 4G LTE connection and an unprecedented data plan. For $499 (the price of the iPad 3, among many others) you get the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, a 4G LTE data connection (almost certainly AT&T) and access to a $49.99-a-year data plan. That's twelve months of 4G LTE, with the unfortunate limit of 250MB a month.

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Even with the tiny data limit, which somewhat undercuts Bezos' highlight of HD content, it's a compelling offer. An always-on connection is a major draw for a content-driven device like the Kindle. Users will also get 20GB of Amazon cloud storage and a $10 gift card, bringing the total price down to $39.99 for a year's worth of data.

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The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" with Amazon 4G LTE includes all the features of the $299 model, including the 1080p screen, TI OMAP 4470 processor, an upgraded 32GB of storage, 5Ghz WiFi, and Amazon's new and improved Android-based software. It's available for pre-order today for $499 for the standard model and $599 for the 64GB version, and will ship on November 20th.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrgO8Zseh6E

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 6, 2012-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Less than one year ago, Amazon introduced Kindle Fire—combining 15 years of innovation into a fully-integrated, end-to-end service for customers. Kindle Fire quickly became the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon.com, earning over 10,000 5-star customer reviews, remaining the #1 best-selling product across the millions of items available on Amazon since its introduction, and capturing 22% of U.S. tablet sales in just nine months. Today, Amazon is excited to announce that it’s taking on the high-end with Kindle Fire HD—the next generation of Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire HD (Photo: Business Wire)

The Kindle Fire HD familythe most-advanced tablets:

  • Ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless, powered by the latest generation 4G chipset, support for all 10 4G bands, and Amazon’s breakthrough 4G LTE data package—customers save hundreds of dollars in the first year compared to other 4G tablets.
  • Stunning custom HD display with in-plane switching, Advanced True Wide polarizing filter and custom laminated touch sensor for 25% less glare with rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle.
  • Fastest Wi-Fi of any tablet—dual antenna, dual-band, and MIMO—40% faster downloads and streaming compared to the next fastest tablet.
  • High-performance processor and graphics engine for snappy and smooth performance.
  • Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio—the standard in high-end audio—available for the first time on a tablet.
  • Kindle Fire HD starts with 16 GB of local storage, enough to accommodate the larger file sizes of HD content.
  • Exceptional battery life—7” Kindle Fire HD gets 11 hours of battery life.
  • Front-facing HD camera with custom Skype application for video calling from anywhere in the world.
  • New Amazon-exclusive features like X-Ray for Movies, X-Ray for Textbooks, Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice, Whispersync for Games, and Kindle FreeTime.
  • World’s best content ecosystem—over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks and magazines.
  • Best cross-platform interoperability, with Amazon apps available on the largest number of devices and platforms so customers can access content anytime, anywhere.
  • Amazon’s top-rated, world-class customer service.

High-End Laptop-Quality Wi-Fi—40% Faster Downloads and High-Speed Streaming

HD content has much larger file sizes than standard definition content—for example, Marvel’s The Avengers in standard definition is 785 MB, but in HD, The Avengersis 2.97 GB. Files of this size require the very latest in Wi-Fi technology to download or stream the HD content quickly and reliably—anything else results in buffering, slow downloads and dropped connections. Many Wi-Fi enabled devices only use the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency. This frequency is crowded since it is used by everything from other tablets to microwave ovens, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, not to mention the neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks. Kindle Fire HD circumvents this congestion with state-of-the-art dual-band Wi-Fi. Kindle Fire HD can automatically switch between the 2.4 GHz network and the newer, less crowded 5 GHz network, resulting in better range and less interference. In addition, dual antennas and Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) allow for higher bandwidth and longer range. The new Kindle Fire HD is the first tablet to market with all three of these latest generation Wi-Fi technologies—dual-band support, dual antennas, and MIMO. This is the first time this state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology has been offered in a tablet, resulting in 40% faster throughput compared to the latest generation iPad.

Latest Generation 4G LTE Wireless

The large-screen Kindle Fire HD is also available with ultra-fast 4G LTE, with download speeds as fast as Wi-Fi. To keep the 4G Kindle Fire HD just 8.8 mm thin, Amazon custom-designed its 4G wireless modem to be just 2.2 mm. Some 4G devices don’t support all of the non-4G bands—Kindle Fire HD includes support for 10-bands, so even if a customer doesn’t have perfect 4G coverage, the Kindle will fall back to the fastest available 3G speeds.

Amazon’s Breakthrough 4G LTE Data Package

The 4G Kindle Fire HD comes with the most affordable 4G tablet data package. Customers will have access to a 12-month data plan with 250MB per month, 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage, and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore for a one-time cost of $49.99. In fact, when you combine the cost of the device and the data plan, customers who purchase the Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE will pay over $400 less than latest generation iPad owners in the first year of ownership. Customers can also choose to upgrade to 3 GB or 5 GB data plans from AT&T directly from the device.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE Pre-Order Page