Amazon has gone and unveiled three new models of their Kindle Fire tablet at yesterday’s Santa Monica event, along with a brand new tablet called the Kindle Paperwhite.
On the Fire front, the three new models cover variable screen sizes from 7″ to 8.9″. The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD sports a 1920 x 1200 display and comes in two flavours. The cheaper of the two, clocking in at $299 (a little shy of R2,500), will be shipping on 20 November and comes with 16GB of storage. The pricier 32GB version is aimed at competing with Apple’s latest iPad and will run consumers $499 (R4,150). The 32GB Fire HD is a 4G, LTE enabled device that Amazon says compares very favourably with the new iPad.
The 7″ 16GB edition of the Kindle Fire HD will be shipping a little earlier at 14 September and will cost $199 (R1,650). All of the new Fire models run chips from Texas Instruments and are claimed to be 20% faster than older models. Each has integrated WiFi, HDMI ports, Bluetooth and front-facing cameras. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the OS said to be running Amazon’s latest releases but a tweaked version of Google’s OS seems more likely.
The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader (pictured above) will become available on 1 October, with WiFi-only and 3G models available for $119 (R990) and $179 (R1,500) respectively. The Paperwhite display, supposedly four years in the making, has 25% more contrast and 62% more pixels onscreen than current Kindles. The display is supposedly highly energy efficient and Amazon are promising up to eight weeks of powered-on time, even with the light on. The new device is “thinner than a magazine and lighter than a paperback book” and ships with the standard Kindle features (minus audiobook support) as well as a new function called Time to Read which tracks how long readers will take to complete chapters based on their reading speed.