I had a chance to spend some time with Amazon's new Kindle Fires today at the company's event in Los Angeles, so I'm going to share a few thoughts about Amazon's newest Android-based slates. Disclaimer: Yes, I only spent about an hour with this tablet today, but I'm going to give you a sense of where I think the Kindle Fire HD is headed, who it's targeted to, and whether or not you should be interested in buying it.
Following today's announcements, Amazon decided to take some time to introduce a few awesome new features those who buy from the Kindle line can expect to enjoy from their new Amazon-branded tablets. In this post, we'll take a brief look at the bevy of new features, starting with X-Ray for Movies.
Earlier today, Amazon announced a slew of new Kindle products: a refreshed 8GB Fire, brand new 16/32GB Fire HD 7" and 16/32GB Fire HD 8.9", including 32/64GB LTE-enabled variants, and a Kindle Paperwhite which doesn't run Android. The pre-order links weren't working right away, but they've just gone live, and I have them all for you right here.
Kindle Fire (2012 Refresh)
8GB - $159 (September 14th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 7"
16GB - $199 (September 14th release date) - Pre-order link
32GB - $249 (October 25th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
16GB - $299 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
32GB - $369 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G-LTE
32GB - $499 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
64GB - $599 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
Repeat after me - "paperwhite." Not "paperweight." Amazon didn't think this one through, did it?
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.
Amazon's just announced not one, but
two a few new Kindle Fires: the Fire and Fire HD 7/8.9. The former is a slight bump in spec and drop in price from its predecessor:
- Faster 1.2GHz OMAP4430 dual-core processor
- 7" 1024x600 IPS LCD display, 169ppi
- 2-point multi-touch
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB storage
- Android 4.0 underpinning
- Stereo speakers
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (single-band), though no support for ad-hoc networks
- Longer battery life (8.5 hours of continuous use)
- No camera or microphone
- 14.1oz (400 grams)
- Free month of Amazon Prime
- X-Ray for Movies and Books, Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice, and more
Other than that, Amazon was very scant on details.
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.
After Motorola's big event today, we didn't figure much of anything else interesting would be going on. We were wrong - numerous sources have confirmed to TheVerge that Amazon is legitimately, actually working on a smartphone. We totally pretended to call it.
Those same sources say that Amazon's phone is yet to be totally finished, but that we may see a prototype tomorrow at Amazon's event in Los Angeles.
Chances are, most of you only ever hear about Epix in an article discussing streaming rights (like this one). Epix is an online streaming video service a la Netflix that you can only get access to if you have a cable bundle that includes the site. Or, you know, if you have Netflix. For now anyway. The real value of Epix is the stable of movie rights it brings to the table, and now the joint venture is sharing its media library with Amazon Instant Video for all of the online retail giant's Prime customers.
It's not just European markets that are getting some Amazon-related goodies today. The Appstore has been updated to version 4.0 (technically, version 4.0.634.0, but who's counting right?) and brings with it an improved UI, the ability to remove items from the My Apps section and, perhaps most importantly to Artem, a fix for a major battery drain bug. All good news!
The new UI doesn't look too much different from the old version, aside from getting rid of a lot of the white, opting instead for the darker theme that's more in line with the Kindle Fire UI.
Amazon, in a press release posted this morning, announced that its "#1 best-selling product," the Kindle Fire, is now sold out. The release boasts the Fire's millions of sales, noting that it managed to eat up an impressive 22% of tablet sales in the US, and added to the overall success of Amazon's digital product sales.
What makes this announcement interesting is that Amazon has a press conference scheduled for September 6th, meaning we're likely to see the latest member of the Kindle family unveiled very soon.