"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, September 07, 2012

Amazon Introduces New Kindle Fire for 2012

Yesterday Amazon announced (video below) an across the board refresh of their Kindle eBook readers. The goal was same experience with faster speeds at competitive prices. From what I saw today it looks like they are meeting that goal. The line breaks down into four main areas - Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire SD, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle. Within each area you have several options on what extras the Kindle will or will not have.

The hardware differences account for the difference in prices and will be broke down below. As far as the operating system, all versions of the Kindle Fire are the same with heavily modified Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Since it is essentially a custom interface created by Amazon, they expanding existing features to better take advance of Amazon Prime and multimedia offering that Amazon has. Whispersync, which was used to sync where you stopped reading across devices, now has been expanded to audio books and games. For audio books it means listen (or read) wherever the audio book last stopped on another device without having to find your place again. For games that means picking up your last save on another Fire device (not seeing this application being nearly as useful as audio one). Another new feature is FreeTime, which provides a kids mode with parental controls. Another expanded feature is X-Ray. It was used to provide wiki like info on selected items in books, now it provides info from IMDB.com for videos and more info for use with textbooks.

One other thing announced is a new publishing program called Serials that allows authors to sell books in installments for a single price that auto updates to the buyers. The name comes from how books used to be made, published a chapter at a time in newspapers. In this case, for say $1.99 you might buy the serial of "Hacker Mom", your Kindle would automatically update with each new chapter/section as it comes out.

Kindle Fire HD 7" | Kindle Fire HD 8.9" | Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE
- Runs on heavily modified Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS
- More hard drive space, starting at 16GB up to 64GB depending on model
- Chip speed: 7" dual-core 1.2GHz; 8.9" dual-core 1.5GHz
- Added front facing camera, Bluetooth, and microHDMI
- Screen Resolution: 7" 1280 x 800; 8.9" 1920 x 1200
- Price: 7" - $199 (16GB), $249 (32GB); 8.9" - $299 (16GB), $369 (32GB); 8.9" 4G - $499 (32GB), $599 (64GB)
- Release date: November 20th, 2012
- 4G model has a $50 a year (not month) data plan with 250MB per month cap (by comparison AT&T charges $15 a month for same thing).
- Comparison: Fire models | Other tablets
- Hands-On

Kindle Fire SD 7"
- Improved version of the first Kindle Fire
- Faster processor, 1GB of RAM, longer battery life, front facing camera
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600
- Price: $159
- Release date: September 14th, 2012

Kindle Paperwhite
- Front-lit display for reading in the dark with capacitive (more responsive) touchscreen
- 62% higher resolution, longer battery life, no physical controls, 15% faster page turn
- Improved menu interface, no more simple display of books
- Magnetic to allow automatic wake/sleep device when opening and close separately sold case
- Price: $119 (with ads), $139 (no ads); 3G - $179 (with ads), $199 (no ads)
- Release date: October 1st, 2012
- Hands-on

- Improved version of the existing Kindle touch
- New fonts, better display, faster page turn
- Improved menu interface, no more simple display of books
- Price: $69 (with ads), $89 (no ads)
- Release date: September 14th, 2012

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