Well, Amazon had the much-anticipated press conference today and they announced a new Kindle Fire and a new Kindle Touch (renamed Paperwhite). I will tell you I ordered one of each as, after all, I have to try them out before I can blog about the positives and negatives of each
I’m not about to regurgitate all of the specifics and technical details of each one as the things I think are important may have no importance to you and vice versa. Also, I wanted to get this post out and links to the product pages to you so you can (a) check all of the new features out for yourself and, (b) most important if you are interested in getting one of these I’d recommend you order one now as I remember each of the last three years the new Kindle variations went out of stock before Christmas.
Here are the highlights:
Kindle Fire HD
- Display is now in HD with a new 1280 x 800 high definition LCD display. The screen has been modified to reduce the screen glare. This new version maintains the 7” screen size.
- You can choose between the 16 GB of memory version for $199 or the 32 GB version for $249.
- Dolby dual driver stereo speakers similar to a home stereo.
- Dual Wi-Fi antennas and Multiple In / Multiple Out (MIMO) technology that enables a Wi-Fi download and video streaming speed of 31 megabytes per second (Amazon says this is 41% faster than an iPad 3’s 22 MBPS).
- Dual core processor.
- 11 hours of continuous battery life (including video streaming).
- Integrated support for social media applications as well as an Exchange calendar, contacts, and email. With the Exchange services, Amazon is really trying to make inroads into corporate email departments.
- A front-facing HD camera.
- Free Skype HD Video Calls.
- An HDMI port to share your screen – that is really cool (to me, at least).
- This is pretty thin at 0.4” – compare that to the 0.34” of a Kindle Keyboard.
They are also including something new called “Kindle FreeTime” which allows parents to set daily time limits for videos, music, games, and reading. That is something I wish I had now for my kids’ Fires.
Another thing they are really pushing are the 100,000+ audiobook titles by Audible – that makes sense as a lot of people like to listen to audiobooks. They are enhancing the audiobook capability by allowing you to synch where you were on an audiobook between devices – so, if you are listening to an audiobook on one Kindle say at home, and happen to pick up your spouse’s Kindle somewhere else, you can immediately start where you left off – similar to the bookmarking you can do now between Kindles when you are reading.
Here’s the strange thing – if you order the 16 GB version, you will get it on September 14th (next Friday if you choose one day shipping), but if you order the 32 GB version they won’t start shipping that model until October 25th.
Kindle Fire HD – 8.9” screen Wi-Fi only
This has the same features as the Kindle HD above, with following major exceptions:
- The screen is larger at 8.9”, and the display is an impressive 1920 x 1200.
- You can have 16 GB of memory for $299, and 32 GB of memory for $369.
- This one is even thinner than the HD version above – probably because they had more room due to the larger screen size – at 0.35” as compared to the 0.34” of a Kindle Keyboard.
Both the 16 GB and 32 GB version will ship on November 20th – that’s the same week as Thanksgiving, so if you do order it please make sure you have it shipped somewhere where it won’t be sitting on your front porch while you are traveling for Thanksgiving.
Kindle Fire HD – 8.9” Screen with 4G and Wi-Fi
This has the same features as the 8.9” Wi-Fi only above with one major exception – you can also connect to the Internet via a 4G connection. Unlike a Kindle Keyboard, and this makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint, you have to pay if you want to turn on the 4G connection. Unlike an iPad data plan that charges you each month (from $20 or more per month), you pay a flat $50 a year for 150 MB of monthly data access from AT&T.
This version of the Kindle Fire will also ship on November 20th.
New (Original) Kindle Fire
As I blogged about last week, Amazon’s original Kindle Fire is out of stock – they are coming out with a new Kindle Fire – let’s call it the new introductory model – that will start shipping on September 14th (next week) that costs $159. Compare that to the old pricing of $199 – and this model, while the same screen size, has 40$ faster performance, twice the memory at 8 GB, and a longer battery life with many of the same options I listed above.
Kindle Paperwhite 3G
This is the replacement to the Kindle Touch, and on the surface it looks pretty impressive. You can check this one out if you click here or type in http://bit.ly/paper3g or http://bit.ly/paperwhite3g into your web browser.
Here are the major items of this new model:
- Free global 3G wireless.
- A built-in light that lights up the screen in the dark, yet doesn’t degrade the reading performance when you are outside. I really can’t do this one justice until I have it in my hands – let’s just say this is really cool for a gadget person like me.
- Increased pixels (62% better) than the previous version for better resolution.
- Several new fonts.
- The battery lasts an incredible 8 weeks – even with the light on.
- A new “Time to Read” feature that, based upon how fast you are currently reading a particular book, will let you know the best estimate of how long it will take you to finish the chapter you are reading. I see this one as pretty handy when someone asks you to do something and you say “I need 7 more minutes until I finish this chapter, and I’ll be up to tuck the kids in!”
This one will ship on October 1st. If you choose the one with Special Offers, it is $179; if you don’t want the special offers, it is $199.
Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi
This one will also ship on October 1st. If you choose the one with Special Offers, it is $119; if you don’t want the special offers, it is $139.
While this one is not new, Amazon has lowered the price of the “basic” Kindle to just $69 ($89 if you don’t want the special offers) – that’s pretty incredible to me: I have one that my daughter uses for school, and it is very durable.
Whew – lots of choices and some neat gadgets! If you’ve read this far, congratulations – and if you are thinking of ordering one, don’t wait too long as they may run out!
Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription! Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips or type in http://www.tinyurl.com/fkblog into your computer’s web browser.