Amazon has announced their updated versions of the new Kindles. They began their press conference by talking about the new Kindle Paperwhite. This new Kindle is an update to the standard Kindle eReader and delivers a higher resolution display and brighter display. This brighter display will also be easily readable at night and even with the brighter display and increased contrast it should still do 8 weeks of battery life per charge. The new Paperwhite Kindle will sell for $119, while the standard kindle will drop to $69. Amazon also plans to offer a 3G version of the Paperwhite for $179 which should slightly affect that 8 week battery life, but realistically not by much. The Paperwhite Kindle 3G should be available on October 1st, and will not have any contract or data plan.
The real announcement that everyone was waiting for, however, was the update to the Kindle Fire which had recently completely sold out on Amazon’s site. The first things that Amazon did with the new Kindle Fire, was to update the processor to the Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 which is the higher clock speed brother of the OMAP 4430, which shipped in the original Kindle Fire. This represents a pretty significant speed up in terms of processing power, going from 1GHz to 1.5-1.8GHz. The OMAP 4470 also features an increased clock speed on the GPU which should improve graphical performance as well. Since the Kindle Fire HD will have a higher resolution than the old Kindle Fire, this is absolutely critical to maintain a good experience.
Additionally, Amazon opted to double the amount of RAM as well as onboard storage. This means that the new Kindle Fire HD will ship with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. What this means is that the Kindle Fire HD will be able to accomplish more tasks more quickly while at the same time not costing you a fortune. It means you can run more HD multimedia tasks without bogging down the device. The Kindle Fire HD also features dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, which is an exclusive audio engine unique to the Kindle Fire HD. This is an improvement over the original Kindle Fire, as that device did not feature two speakers nor Dolby Digital signal processing.
In addition to all of these other improvements, Amazon also equipped the Kindle Fire HD with a dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi antenna. This enables the Fire to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks and to have improved performance due to having two antennas as opposed to one. This results in not only better Wi-Fi signal strength and range, but also improve performance over it’s competitors like the iPad 3 and Nexus7. The Kindle Fire HD already has some custom applications built for it like Skype, which is enabled through the front facing HD camera on the Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire HD will ship in both 7" and 8.9" sizes and the 8.9" model will have a 1920×1080 resolution, which means it will deliver full HD, since the OMAP 4470 is capable of 1080P display and 1080P output, Amazon also opted to include HDMI out.
The Kindle Fire HD 7" will ship with 16GB of storage for $199, while the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" with 16GB will ship for $299. These prices are amazing when you consider that most tablets in the 8.9" category of size (9-10") are usually $499. This will open up Amazon to an entirely new market of users that simply believe that a 7" is too small for them. This is how Amazon is going to increase their overall reach of the market beyond their current dominating Android position. Android right now does not really enjoy much market share when compared to Apple, however, Amazon enjoys most of that market share. With the 8.9" model, we believe that Amazon may expand Android’s reach and their dominance of the Android share.
Finally, Amazon has also offered a data plan in conjunction with AT&T which is $50 per year, enabling the user to connect to AT&T’s 4G LTE network with 250MB of data per month. This data plan comes down to less than $5 per month in order to be able to connect to the internet on your tablet whenever, wherever you want to. The Kindle Fire HD 32GB LTE model that delivers this capability will ship for $499 and be available in November. This tablet is how Amazon decided that they would fill the $499 tablet slot that everyone so highly covets, including Apple.
It looks like Amazon has once again shaken up the tablet game for everyone. Again.