Amazon hyped their press event for today and had Internet sites abuzz with expectation leading up to it, with everyone guessing what they may reveal. It appears Amazon did not disappoint with the introduction of new devices sure to have a major impact on the world of tablet devices. The highlight will almost certainly be Amazon’s introduction of an 8.9-inch version of their tablet, dubbed the Kindle Fire HD.
Running at 1920×1200 resolution with 254 ppi, the 8.9-inch screen is made with a new laminated touch sensor that Amazon promises will reduce glare by 25%. Backing the display is a TI OMAP 4470 processor, 16GB of internal storage, Dolby stereo with dual speakers, dual wifi antennas, a front-facing HD camera, and HDMI out. This top of the line version of the Kindle Fire HD will run $299 and Amazon says it will be available starting November 20th, just in time for Black Friday’s shopping rush. Amazon will also have a 4G LTE model available for $499 and a $49.99 per year data plan. There will be a data cap of 250MB per month and 20GB of cloud storage available.
Joining the Kindle Fire HD are a pair of 7-inch models, an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 and an updated Amazon Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire HD 7 is very similar to the 8.9-inch version, with the only difference being the screen. The Kindle Fire HD 7 will run an IPS screen at 1280 x 800 resolution. With a price of $199, it is available for pre-order starting today with shipment scheduled for September 14th.
The final tablet to join the Amazon stable is an upgraded version of the existing Kindle Fire. Still a 7-inch tablet, Amazon indicates the processor is 40% faster than the current model, it will have double the available RAM of the current Kindle Fire, and enjoy longer battery life. Amazon is actually cutting the price on this unit to only $159. It too will start shipping on September 14th.
Along with the new hardware, Amazon announced some interesting changes to the operating system and available apps on their Kindle Fire devices. Whispersync Voice will let users transition between audiobooks and regular text without losing your place, a feature Amazon is calling “Immersion Reading.” Whispersync is also spreading to games which means users’ progress, achievements, awards and other checkpoints in a game will be uploaded to the cloud and available on all devices. A new feature called X-Ray will let users pull up actor information from IMDB while watching movies or information about books while they are being read.
Amazon has also implemented a new e-mail app with support for Exchange, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo accounts, including calendar and contact sync capabilities. Skype will be preinstalled on the Kindle Fire devices as well. Finally, Amazon has created a new parental controls app called FreeTime that will enable parents to control time and content limits for their kids on a per profile basis. FreeTime is possible as Amazon has implemented multiple accounts capability.
Has Amazon made a major statement with these devices? Can they divert potential iPad buyers? Would you be interested in any of these devices? Let us know and keep an eye open for further updates with more details about these new devices.