Amazon Announces Fleet of New Devices

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amazonAmazon made a huge splash in the digital book publishing world as it announced a fleet of new devices, including its cheapest e-reader ever, an 8.9-inch tablet, a back-lit e-reader and a device with an ultra-cheap 4G LTE data plan.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage in an aircraft hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. for an Apple-like unveiling of its new devices. The press conference capped two weeks of rumors about potential products that ran the gamut from a dual-display tablet to a smartphone. Despite the fanfare and echoes of Steve Jobs presentations past (at one point Bezos played almost a full minute of pop-anthem “Some Nights”), the CEO ultimately stressed accessibility — inexpensive, usable devices.

First to be unveiled was the Kindle Paperwhite, the only of Amazon’s e-readers to have a back-light. The Paperwhite allows eight weeks of battery life with the light on full time, markedly more than the Nook with GlowLight, the inspiration for the device, and the new Kobo Glo, which was unveiled today. While the Paperwhite starts at $119, the model with 3G wireless connectivity will sell for $179. By comparison, the new Kobo Glo is $129.99, $10 cheaper than the Nook version.

Bezos said that people will love the back light so much that they will always leave it on when reading.

Bezos also announced the new Kindle Fire tablets. One is a seven-inch Kindle Fire with a faster processor, double the RAM and longer battery life for $159, a new low-bar for pricing in the tablet space. The other is, as expected, a larger Kindle Fire tablet with an 8.9-inch screen for $299 (for $499, Amazon is offering a 4G LTE version of this tablet with added storage). And a third is an upgraded seven-inch Kindle Fire HD for $199.

“Is it more expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes,” said Bezos of the new 8.9-inch model..

For those who want the fully loaded version, Amazon will sell an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire with 4G LTE connectivity and 32 gigabytes of storage for $499. A data plan for the device is $50 a year. This Kindle Fire is the most expensive Kindle device ever to hit the market; when the Kindle DX was introduced in 2009, it sold for $489.

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” said Bezos, referring to the inexpensive cost of the hardware and the company’s intention to make money off of e-book, app, movie, magazine and other media purchases.

Device usage was highlighted throughout the day’s presentation. The Paperwhite comes with Amazon’s new Whispersync, which syncs bookmarks in audio and Kindle books, a marker at the bottom of the page that tells the reader how much longer in minutes it will take to finish the chapter; and X-Ray, a glossary tool that organizes a character’s appearances throughout a book and generates a short biography.

“Four hundred and forty characters! I don’t know how people read this book before X-Ray,” Bezos said as he demonstrated the feature on Game of Thrones.

Amazon also set a new low bar for e-reader prices by introducing its base model Kindle at $69, $10 cheaper than before and cheaper even than the new, small Kobo Mini. The Paperwhite will ship to consumers on Oct. 1 and the cheaper Kindle will drop on Sept. 14.

Amazon also set a new low bar for e-reader prices by introducing its base model Kindle at $69, $10 cheaper than before and cheaper even than the new, small Kobo Mini.

The Paperwhite will ship to consumers on Oct. 1 and the cheaper Kindle will do so on Sept. 14. The larger Fire will retail for $299 and ships Nov. 20.

 

Device Specs

Latest generation Kindle:

Dimensions: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″
Weight: 5.98 oz
Display: E Ink pearl
Connectivity: Wi Fi
Storage: 2 GB on device plus free cloud storage
Battery life: 4 weeks wireless off
Price: $69

Kindle Paperwhite:

Dimensions: 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″
Weight: 7.5 oz
Display: Paperwhite built-in light
Connectivity: Wi Fi
Storage: 2 GB on device plus free cloud storage
Price: $119

Kindle Paperwhite 3G:

Dimensions: 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″
Weight: 7.8 oz
Display: Paperwhite built-in light
Connectivity: Wi Fi plus 3G
Storage: 2 GB on device plus free cloud storage
Price: $179

Latest generation Kindle Fire:

Dimensions: 7.44″ x 4.72″ x 0.45″
Weight: 14.1 oz
Processor: Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4430
Display: 7-inch LCD
Screen: 1024×600
Connectivity: Wi Fi
Storage: 8 gigabytes plus free cloud storage
Price: $159

Kindle Fire HD:

Dimensions: 7.6″ x 5.4″ x 0.4″
Weight: 13.9 oz
Processor: Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4460
Display: 7-inch LCD
Screen: 1280×800, up to 720p HD
Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi Fi
Storage: 16 GB plus free cloud storage
Price: $199

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″:

Dimensions: 9.45″ x 6.5″ x 0.35″
Weight:  20 oz
Processor: Dual-core, 1.5GHz OMAP4470
Display: 8.9″ HD LCD
Screen: 1920×1200, up to 1080p HD
Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi Fi
Storage: 16 GB plus free cloud storage
Price: $299

Kindle Fire HD 4G:

Dimensions: 9.45″ x 6.5″ x 0.35″
Weight:  20 oz
Processor: Dual-core, 1.5GHz OMAP4470
Display: 8.9″ HD LCD
Screen: 1920×1200, up to 1080p HD
Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi Fi, 4G LTE
Storage: 32 GB plus free cloud storage
Price: $499

 

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3 thoughts on “Amazon Announces Fleet of New Devices

  1. The Kindle Paperwhite is front-lit, not backlit. It has an eInk display with a special Amazon lighting layer and capacitive touch layer sandwiched on top.

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