Sep 7, 2012
While rumors of a new iPad mini spread, and the Nexus 7 enjoys its sales numbers, Amazon has laid dormant until now with the announcement of new Kindle Fire devices.
The flagship is the Kindle Fire HD. This will come in both an 8.9" variety and a 7" variety; the specs on the 7" are supposed to be the same as the 8.9", but Amazon was more keen to show off this version. It's got a 1920×1200 screen (true HD!) which is 254 ppi (compared to the iPad retina display's 264 ppi), to go along with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which Amazon claims can do 50% more floating point operations as compared to the Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7.
The touch screen has a laminated touch sensor, which Amazon claims will offer a better display with less glare. It has 2 wifi antennas, offering faster dual-band wifi performance. It also boasts a front-facing camera, an HDMI port, and Bluetooth. The 7" model with 16 GB of storage will go for $199. The 8.9" model with 16 GB of storage will cost $299. Even the original Kindle Fire has been given a minor update with 1GB of RAM, an upgraded processor, and a new $159 cost.
While the rest of the lineup is still wifi-only, there's one option for those who want network connectivity. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 will be available with 4G LTE (powered by AT&T) for $499, and for $50 per year, it will come with 250 MB of data and 20 GB cloud storage access. Options to upgrade to 3GB and 5GB data plans will be available directly from the device for AT&T. The device also has 10 bands of cell access, so it can fall back to 3G/4G networks.
Amazon appears to be trying to regain any market space lost to the Nexus 7, and with the 8.9" size, may be getting in to competing with the iPad, thanks to their expansion of app content to go with their media library. It shall be an interesting holiday season for those competing in the tablet market. The 7" devices ship on September 14th. The 8.9" devices ship on November 20th.