Amazon is currently unveiling a slew of new products at its press conference today. One of the headlining set of slates is the Kindle Fire HD. They will come in two sizes, 7" and 8.9". The HD tablets will be tied deeply to Amazon's content ecosystem. The 8.9" model will have an astounding 1920x1200 display, and it's bound to be one of the nicest looking displays we've seen in a primarily-content-driven device. Unfortunately, we haven't heard yet what the resolution will be for the 7" device. Update: It's going to be 1280x800 for the 7" display.
Here are the specs:
- Dual-core 1.5GHz OMAP 4470 processor on the 8.9" version; dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP 4460 on the 7"
- 8.9": 1920x1200 IPS LCD display, 254ppi; 7": 1280x720 IPS LCD display
- 10-point multi-touch
- Dual WiFi-antennas, dual-band, and MIMO support
- Dolby Digital Plus dual-driver stereo speakers
- Android 4.0 base
- 16GB or 32GB of storage in non-4G variants; 32GB and 64GB in Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G
- HD front-facing camera
- Whispersync support for ebooks and audiobooks
- X-Ray for books, movies, and textbooks
- 8.9": 20oz (567 grams), 7": 13.9oz (395 grams)
- Free month of Amazon Prime
- Starts at $199
Amazon is clearly gunning for the Nexus 7 with this device. With a snide "8GB is dead on arrival" remark from Bezos, it's clear what market he wants the new Kindle Fire HD to corner. The dual WiFi antennas are a nice touch and Amazon clearly wants to make WiFi as fast as possible. Which, for a device lacking any other kind of data connection, is a big deal.
In addition to the nice spec boost, Amazon is also introducing a ton of new features for reading and watching content. Whispersync support for audiobooks allows users to sync the place they're at in an audio book with the ebook of the same title. Listen to a chapter, then pick up reading it later where you left off. Nice! X-Ray is another neat feature that, for example, will allow you to tap on an actor in a movie and pull up his or her IMDb page. The future, ladies and gentlemen!
There are also a slew of apps that have been customized to work with the Kindle Fire HD, including Skype and Facebook. Whispersync for games will also allow users to keep their unlocked levels even if they have to reinstall or move to a new device. It sounds curiously close to the functionality we should see in the Play Store (and is supported), but is often neglected by game developers. We'll see if it's up to devs on this one as well, or if Amazon handles the syncing.
There will also be parental controls in the form of Kindle FreeTime. Not only can parents set restrictions on what kids may or may not access on the tablet, but they can even dictate how long a child can play. Very handy.
The 7" Kindle Fire HD will retail for $199, while its 8.9" bigger brother comes in at a more expensive $299. Both models begin at 16GB of storage. Pre-orders start today, with shipping beginning September 14th for the 7" model, November 20th for the 8.9"er.
Oh, and just in case you wanted to go big, instead of going home, there will also be an 8.9" Kindle Fire HD version with 32GB of storage and LTE on board for $500. Yes, you read that right. $500 for a fully-loaded, large-screen tablet. For $50 a year you can get access to that network (with a cap of a paltry 250MB a month), 200GB of cloud storage on Amazon (!), and $10 in Amazon credit. This is insane. Like the others, pre-orders start today, and the device will ship by November 20th. Just in time for the holiday season.
Amazon Takes on the High-End—Introducing the New Kindle Fire HD Family
$199 now gets you the world’s most-advanced 7” tablet, with a stunning custom HD display, the fastest Wi-Fi, exclusive Dolby audio, powerful processor and graphics engine, and 16 GB of storage—all backed by the world’s best content ecosystem, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best customer service
$299 now gets you all the same advanced technology on a stunning 8.9” large-screen 1920x1200 HD display with 254 ppi and a powerful OMAP4 4470 processor and graphics engine
$499 now gets you the same high-end large-screen HD tablet, 32 GB of storage, plus ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless powered by the latest generation 4G chipset, and Amazon’s groundbreaking $49.99 one year 4G LTE data package—customers save hundreds of dollars in the first year compared to other 4G tablets
New inventions exclusively on the new family of Kindle Fire devices—X-Ray for Movies, X-Ray for Textbooks, Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice, Whispersync for Games, and Kindle FreeTime
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 family—the 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.
Amazon is also introducing an all-new upgraded version of the best-selling standard definition Kindle Fire with a faster processor, twice the memory and longer battery life—all for an even lower breakthrough price—only $159. Meet the all-new Kindle Fire family at www.amazon.com/kindlefirehd.
“We’re taking on the most popular price point for a tablet, $499, but doubling the storage and incredibly, adding ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”
The Best Hardware
Stunning Custom HD Display
The 8.9” display on Kindle Fire HD features an incredible 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920x1200, with pixels that are indistinguishable to the human eye. The 7” Kindle Fire HD features a stunning HD display with 1280x800 resolution that delivers deep, detailed contrast and rich, natural color. Kindle Fire HD also uses Gorilla Glass to provide superior strength and reliability. Kindle Fire HD starts with excellent resolution, but that is only the beginning—Amazon also added custom features that reduce glare and improve color saturation at any viewing angle.
Most tablet displays are made up of two pieces of glass—an LCD on the bottom and a touch sensor on the top, separated by an air gap. This air gap allows light to come through the touch sensor and reflect off the LCD, which causes added glare for the user. Fire HD solves this air gap problem by laminating the touch sensor and the LCD together into a single layer of glass, creating a display that is easy to view even in overhead light, and reducing glare by 25% relative to the latest generation iPad.
Like many tablets, Kindle Fire HD uses in-plane switching (IPS) to improve color reproduction. But displays that only use IPS still appear washed out at various angles, such as laid sideways in bed, flat on a table, or propped up in a case. Fire HD features an Advanced True Wide polarizing filter that is applied directly to the LCD panel. This results in a display that shows the same deep contrast and rich, detailed color from any angle.
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 Avengers is 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.
8 GB of Storage is Not Enough for an HD Tablet
Customers want to enjoy HD content if they have an HD tablet—and 8 GB of on-device storage isn’t enough for the larger HD file sizes. The 7” Kindle Fire HD is available with 16 GB or 32 GB of on-device storage, and the large screen Kindle Fire is available with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of on-device storage. This large on-device storage capacity is in addition to the free storage Amazon provides for Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. Amazon digital content is automatically backed up for free in the Amazon Cloud’s Worry-Free Archive where it’s available anytime.
Powerful World-Class Processor—Snappy and Smooth
An HD display and HD content must be driven by a powerful processor and optimized software. The Kindle Fire HD family features world-class processors and the new Imagination Technologies graphics engine for lightning-fast HD graphics and excellent fluidity. The 8.9” Kindle Fire HD is powered by the latest generation OMAP4 4470 processor and Imagination SGX544 graphics engine capable of over 12 billion floating point operations per second—50 percent more than Tegra 3, and both Kindle Fire HD 7” and 8.9” come with higher memory bandwidth than Tegra 3. Combining the latest generation processors with significant customization of the Kindle Fire software by Amazon engineers results in a snappy and smooth experience for the user.
Dual Stereo Speakers and Exclusive Dolby Audio—The New Standard for Tablet Audio
Customers shouldn’t need to wear headphones while watching a movie on a tablet to get excellent sound. Kindle Fire HD solves this by combining dual stereo speakers with the next generation Dolby Digital Plus audio platform—the standard in high performance audio—to offer a world-class audio experience. Dolby’s audio suite for Kindle Fire HD includes technology used to adjust volume and deliver easier-to-understand dialogue in movies and TV shows. Kindle Fire HD automatically optimizes the audio profile based on what a customer is doing, such as watching a movie, listening to music, using third party apps like Pandora and Netflix, and also optimizes for headphones versus speakers. All of these pieces combine to create an exceptional audio experience that results in clearer, crisper and balanced sound quality.
11 Hours of Battery Life
The 7” Kindle Fire HD is optimized to deliver high performance without sacrificing battery life, delivering over 11 hours of battery life.
Thin and Light
Even with a custom display, a powerful processor, extra speakers and dual-band/dual-antenna Wi-Fi, the new Kindle Fire HD is extremely light and thin. In fact, Kindle Fire HD 8.9” weighs only 20 ounces and is just 8.8 mm thin. Kindle Fire HD 7” is small enough to take everywhere and light enough to hold easily and comfortably in one hand.
Connect with Bluetooth and HDMI
Kindle Fire HD supports Bluetooth, enabling customers to connect their wireless Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth speakers to listen to songs, videos or audiobooks. With Bluetooth connectivity, customers can also easily connect to a wide range of Bluetooth-enabled keyboards. HDMI out makes it easy for customers to connect the Kindle Fire HD to their big-screen TV to enjoy their favorite HD videos and photos.
Best Tablets at Any Price
The all-new Kindle Fire HD 7”—with a stunning HD display, the fastest Wi-Fi, exclusive HD audio with two stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus, 16 or 32 GB of storage and a powerful world-class processor—all backed by the world’s best content ecosystem, best cross-platform interoperability and best customer service is $199. Kindle Fire HD 7” is available for preorder starting today at www.amazon.com/kindlefirehd7 and will begin shipping on September 14.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9”, with all of these features plus an ultra-high definition 8.9” screen, and 16 or 32 GB of storage, starts at $299 and is available for preorder starting today at www.amazon.com/kindlefirehd, and will begin shipping on November 20.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G, with the most affordable 4G data plan in the world, and 32 or 64 GB of storage, starts at $499 and is available for preorder starting today at www.amazon.com/kindlefirehd4G, and will begin shipping on November 20.
The new latest generation Kindle Fire with a faster processor for 40% faster performance, twice the memory and all the new features is only $159, and pre-order to reserve their page in line at www.amazon.com/kindlefire and will begin shipping on September 14.
For high resolution images and video of the all-new Kindle Fire family, visit www.amazon.com/pr/kindle.
Note: The above PR has been trimmed down because it's over 4,000 words long, and we only let Ron talk that much. You can read the full PR here.