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Thursday, September 06, 2012
Amazon Takes On Apple With Larger Kindle Fires

As it was expected, on Thursday showed off new Kindle Fires with larger and higher-resolution screens, for as much as $499.

At a press conference near Los Angeles, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, unveiled an 8.9-inch version called the Kindle Fire HD. The company will offer a 4G version for $499 and a cheaper $299 Wi-Fi version. The 7-inch version of the Fire, which launched in November, will go for $159.

The new Kindle Fire HD tablets run Google's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" OS.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch weighs 20 ounces and is 8.8 mm thin. Kindle Fire HD 7-inch is small enough to take everywhere and light enough to hold easily and comfortably in one hand.

The 8.9-inch display on Kindle Fire HD features an 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920x1200. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD features an HD display with 1280x800 resolution. Kindle Fire HD also uses Gorilla Glass to provide strength and reliability. Amazon also added custom features that reduce glare and improve color saturation at any viewing angle. Amazon claims that the Fire HD is laminating the touch sensor and the LCD together into a single layer of glass, creating a display that is easy to view even in overhead light, and reducing glare by 25% relative to the latest generation iPad.

Like many tablets, Kindle Fire HD uses in-plane switching (IPS) to improve color reproduction. But displays that only use IPS still appear washed out at various angles, such as laid sideways in bed, flat on a table, or propped up in a case. Fire HD features an Advanced True Wide polarizing filter that is applied directly to the LCD panel. Amazon says that this results in a display that shows the same deep contrast and rich, detailed color from any angle.

Kindle Fire HD takes advantage of dual-band Wi-Fi. It can automatically switch between the 2.4 GHz network and the newer, less crowded 5 GHz network, resulting in better range and less interference. In addition, dual antennas and Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) allow for higher bandwidth and longer range. Amazon claims that the new tablets offer 40% faster throughput compared to the latest generation iPad.

Buyers of the 4G Kindle Fire HD will have access to a 12-month data plan with 250MB per month, 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage, and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore for a one-time cost of $49.99. They can also choose to upgrade to 3 GB or 5 GB data plans from AT&T directly from the device.

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is available with 16 GB or 32 GB of on-device storage, and the large screen Kindle Fire is available with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of on-device storage. This on-device storage capacity is in addition to the free storage Amazon provides for Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is powered by the latest generation OMAP4 4470 processor and Imagination SGX544 graphics engine capable of over 12 billion floating point operations per second - 50 percent more than Nvidia's Tegra 3, and both Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and 8.9-inch come with higher memory bandwidth than Tegra 3, according to Amazon.

Amazon Tablet Specification
Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire (2012)
Kindle Fire HD 7"
Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
Dimensions 190 x 120 x 11.4mm 189 x 120 x 11.5mm 193 x 137 x 10.3mm 240 x 164 x 8.8mm
Display 7-inch 1024 x 600 IPS 7-inch 1024 x 600 IPS 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS 8.9-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS
Weight 413g 400g 395g 567g
Processor 1GHZ TI OMAP 4430 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 (2 x Cortex A9)
Memory 512MB


Wireless Single-band Wi-Fi Single-band Wi-Fi Dual-band, dual antenna (2.4GHz, 5GHz, MIMO) Dual-band, dual antenna (2.4GHz, 5GHz, MIMO)
Storage 8GB (6.5GB usable) 8GB (5.5 usable) 16GB/32GB (12.6GB/26.9GB usable) 16GB/32GB Wi-Fi, 32GB/64GB LTE
Battery 16Whr Uknown > 11hrs Uknown
Price $199 $159 $199/$249

$299/$369 - Wi-Fi
$499/$599 - LTE

Kindle Fire HD also combines dual stereo speakers with the next generation Dolby Digital Plus audio platform. Kindle Fire HD automatically optimizes the audio profile based on what a user is doing, such as watching a movie, listening to music, using third party apps like Pandora and Netflix, and also optimizes for headphones versus speakers.

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is optimized to deliver high performance without sacrificing battery life, delivering over 11 hours of battery life.

Kindle Fire HD also supports Bluetooth, has HDMI out, a front-facing HD camera and a Skype app.

New features

Some new features for Amazon's new gadgets include "X-Ray for books" and textbooks, where Kindle books can be synchronized with Audible audiobooks. It lets users read and listen at the same time.

"X-Ray for Movies" is also a new feature that brings the power of IMDb directly to movies on Kindle Fire HD, accessible with a simple tap.

"Whispersync for Voice" allows users to synchronize their Kindle books with professionally-narrated audiobooks - users can start reading a book on Kindle Fire and switch to listening to the companion audiobook, picking up exactly where they left off.

"Immersion Reading," where Kindle books can be synchronized with Audible audiobooks. It lets users read and listen at the same time.

"Time to Read" uses users' reading speed to tell them when they will finish a chapter in a book on the Paperwhite.

"Kindle FreeTime" lets parents create profiles for their children and choose what books, games, apps or videos they can access. They will also be able to set time limits.

Amazon has also worked with developers to offer new Android games exclusively on Kindle Fire HD, including Activision's popular Skylanders Cloud Patrol franchise and Crytek's Fibble. Users will be able to purchase a unique Skylanders character with a single click, and will deliver it to their doorstep. In addition, the Kindle Fire HD family also offers HD Games, gyroscope and accelerometer for full tilt and turn controls, as well as social gaming features including group leaderboards and achievements.

Amazon also extended its Whispersync technology to gaming with Whispersync for Games. Whispersync for Games syncs a user's place in the game and saves unlocked levels, so even if they get a new device, the progress is backed up in the cloud.

The new Kindle Fire family uses a new version of Amazon Silk with the "split browser" architecture that leverages the computing speed and power of Amazon Web Services to deliver content faster. The new Amazon Silk browser features an updated core rendering engine and a reengineered transport layer that contribute to faster page loads.

The Kindle Fire family also features Microsoft Exchange integration, with fine-tuned performance on many of the most critical e-mail functions. Kindle Fire also features a new calendar app. The new e-mail client also offers support for Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Hotmail and more.

Amazon also showcased Kindle Paperwhite e-reader with a much sharper screen and longer battery life. The device is a third of an inch thin and weighing 7.5 ounces. The 3G wireless version will sell for $179 starting in October. A Wi-Fi-only version will go for $119, and the cheapest will carry a $69 price tag - undercutting the cheapest Barnes and Noble Nook.

Kindle Paperwhite is featuring a 212 ppi display and it has 62% more pixels. It's patented front-lit display guides light underneath an anti-glare layer and down toward the display, away from the reader's eyes. This means a reader can read for hours without eye fatigue or strain. The screen brightness is adjusted for reading in any light.

Amazon e-reader Specifications
  Kindle Touch (2011) Kindle  Kindle Paperwhite Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight
Dimensions 172 x 120 x 10.1mm 165.75 x 114.5 x 8.7mm 169 x 117 x 9.1mm 240 X 164 X 8.8mm
Display 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale 6-inch 1024 x 768, 16-level grayscale 6-inch 600 x 800 16-level grayscale
Weight 213g 170g 213g 197g
Storage 4GB (3GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1.25GB usable) 2GB (1GB usable)
Battery 2-months 1-month 8-weeks 1-month
Price $109 $69 $119/$179 (3G) $139

Amazon's light guide technology diffuses the light across the screen and only requires four LEDs to light the entire screen (unlike LCD screens which can use up to 50 LEDs). The light guide is so efficient that Kindle Paperwhite has an 8 weeks of battery life, even with the light on at all times.

Amazon is competing with Apple, Google and Barnes & Noble for a foothold in the mobile-device market. The company makes little money selling cheap tablets and e-readers because it wants to get the devices into as many hands as possible, then sell digital content.

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