After the great success* of the original Kindle Fire, Amazon has not only announced an upgraded version, but also two separate HD tablets with specifications and prices that blow every other Android tablet (and, to a certain extent, the new iPad) out of the water! Check them out after the jump!
The first announcement is the upgraded Kindle Fire. It is powered by an as-of-yet unspecified processor that is 40% faster, comes with twice the RAM and has longer battery life.
Sounds fairly run of the mill, right? Wait till you hear the price!
To undercut its main competition – the $199 Google / ASUS Nexus 7 – Amazon has priced the new Kindle Fire at $159. It will start shipping on September 14th.
The second announcement is more exciting, though: two Kindle Fire HDs tablets – a 7-inch model and an 8.9-inch one. Both of the new Kindle Fire HD tablets comes with an amazing 1920 x 1200 HD display. Displays on both tablets use IPS technology and a laminated touch sensors to provide an excellent viewing experience. Pixel density on the 8.9-inch tablet is 254 ppi, making its display have near Retina display levels of sharpness.
The “HD” in front of Kindle Fire isn’t just because of the display, as the tablets come with an HD front facing camera!
Behind the scenes and under the hood, the Kindle Fire HD is powered by Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4470 which, according to Amazon, is a lot faster than the Tegra 3.
In addition to that, it comes with stereo speakers – a first for tablets – powered by Dolby Digital Plus technology, two Wi-Fi antennas that work on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, and uses MIMO to improve reception in areas with lots of radio interference.
But that was just the hardware, Amazon has put a lot of work into the software of the Kindle Fire HD as well. Let’s discuss them briefly.
X-Ray for Movies lets you tap on any actor’s face during a movie to see their complete profile on IMDB. Similarly, X-Ray for textbooks lets you tap a term in a book to see related Wikipedia entries and YouTube videos.
Whispersync for Games stores your game save data and syncs it across your Kindle Fire tablets.
There’s an all new, faster Email app that can sync contacts and calendars, and works with Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo besides support Microsoft Exchange.
Kindle Fire HD also has a custom Facebook application that lets you import photos, share books and “connect with gamers”. Skype for Kindle Fire also gets unspecified customizations that make use of its HD front-facing camera.
Kindle Freetime lets parents set time limits on book reading, video watching and gaming for their kids.
The Kindle Fire HD starts at an amazing $199 for the 7-inch, 16GB model (double the space of the Nexus 7 at that price) and a very reasonable $299 for the 8.9-inch, 16GB model. Both can be ordered today, but will ship on September 14th and November 20th respectively. You can also get the 8.9” Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE**, 32GB of onboard storage at $499.
I personally think these are really awesome content consumption devices. With the modestly priced and spec’d Kindle Fire, the significantly more powerful but similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the pull-out-all-the-stops Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch, there’s something that caters to everyone!
*Amazon claims that the Kindle Fire made up 22% of tablet sales in less than a year.
**250MB per month data cap, 20GB of cloud storage, and a $10 Amazon Appstore credit. All for $49.99 a year.
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