Amazon Reveals Kindle Fire HD, Paperwhite, Tons More

As expected, Amazon revealed its new Kindle products and services during a press event in Santa Monica Thursday afternoon. For those looking for hear more about the rumored Amazon smartphone, you'll have to wait for another event, as the company focused on its e-reader and tablet line, and a few new services. If anything, Amazon's new 4G LTE package paves the way for a future Kindle-branded smartphone.

For starters, Amazon's Jeff Bezos introduced the Kindle Paperwhite, a new frontlit Kindle e-reader:

Kindle Paperwhite
Pre-order today – ships October 1st
Wi-Fi Only: $119 USD
Wi-Fi / 3G: $179 USD

- 25-percent more contrast with 212 ppi
- 62-percent more pixels than previous model
- Capacitive, frontlit display – light travels down to the screen like ambient light
- Uses "patented nanoimprinted light guide" and "revolutionary display stack"
- 8 weeks of battery life with light on
- 9.1-mm thin, 7.5 ounces
- Interface similar to Kindle Fire's UI
- Light can be easily adjusted on any page
- "Time to Read" shows how much time is left to read a chapter, a book and more
- 3G service will be provided free

The official announcement can be read here.

He next showed an improved version of the Kindle e-reader, and the [popular 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet:

Revamped Kindle
Pre-order today – ships September 14
$69 USD

- Black casing
- Crisper screen

Revamped 7-inch Kindle Fire
Pre-order today – ships September 14
$159 USD

- Double the RAM
- 40-percent faster
- Longer battery life

Finally he got to the meat of the show: the highly-rumored Kindle Fire HD. There will be three in all: a 7-inch 16 GB model, an 8.9-inch 16 GB model, and an 8.9-inch 32 GB 4G LTE model:

Kindle Fire HD
Pre-order now
7-inch Wi-Fi only version (16 GB): $199 USD – ships September 14
8.9-inch Wi-Fi only version (16 GB): $299 USD – ships November 20
8.9-inch 4G LTE version (32 GB): $499 USD

- 8.8-mm thin, 20 ounces
- IPS display, 254 ppi, 1920 x 1200 resolution (8.9-inch)
- IPS display with 1280 x 800 resolution (7-inch)
- HDMI output
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Touch sensor on top of display is laminated with Advanced True Wide polarizing filter, reducing glare by 25-percent
- TI OMAP4470 SoC, Imagination SGX544 graphics engine
- Two speakers on each end
- The first tablet to feature Dolby Digital Plus
- Dual band Wi-Fi (MIMO) supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands
- Front-facing HD camera supported by Skype
- New email app
  ** world-class Exchange support
  ** faster access to new email
  ** improved synch reliability
  ** synch contacts & calendars
  ** supports Gmail, Hotmail & Yahoo
- Custom Facebook app
- Support for multiple profiles

Now here's the supporting wireless service for the 4G LTE model:

Amazon 4G LTE Package
- $49.99 USD per year
- 250 MB per month
- 20 GB of cloud storage
- $10 Appstore credit

In addition to the devices, Amazon also revealed a batch of new services mostly focused on the new Kindle Fire HD tablets:

Whispersync for Voice (press release)
- 100,000 Audiobooks will be added
- Allows customers to synchronize their Kindle books with professionally-narrated audiobooks—customers can start reading a book on Kindle Fire and seamlessly switch to listening to the companion audiobook, picking up exactly where they left off

Immersion Reading (press release)
- Improve understanding with dual-sensory reading
- Listen to professional narration while you read
- Synchronized real-time highlights

Whispersync for Games
- Syncs a customer’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.

X-Ray for Books
- With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon’s community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers.

X-Ray for Movies (press release)
- Thanks to IMDb, customers can look up any actor in the scene or movie, see what other movies they have been in, and view photos, biographies and more
- Feature pops up when movie is paused

X-Ray for Textbooks
- A smart glossary to help students learn, embedded into each page
- Offers information pulled from YouTube, Wikipedia, etc

Kindle Free Time
- Allows parents to set separate time limits for kids, depending on content
- Parents select all of the content their kids can see and kids can’t exit FreeTime without a password
- Will be available for free on all of the new Kindle Fire devices starting in the coming weeks

Kindle Serials (press release)
- One $1.99 payment for the entire collection
- Can be read in installments

The official, full-blown announcement for the Kindle Fire HD tablets and related services can be accessed here. Also during the press event, Bezos pointed out just how awesome Amazon is with authors:

Kindle Direct Publishing
- Authors can publish in hours
- Authors publish for free
- Authors keep their copyrights
- Authors publish on the schedule
- Authors can distribute globally
- Authors get royalties of 70-percent

Kindle Singles
- 3.5 million sold
- 35 have reached the Kindle Top 50
- Authors have included Stephen King, Lee Child, Karin Slaughter

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  • bavman
    This brought a tear of happiness to my eye. Its nice to finally see some android tablets coming out with nice screen resolution.
  • buckcm
    It's too bad these devices have awful software on them. Amazon made good changes with the update, but the OS is terrible. Running an Amazon app covering Android is pretty lame. It's possible to root it and use ICS, but that comes at the cost of losing the Amazon exclusives.
  • slabbo
    where does it say that it's only tied to AT&T? I think i missed reading that on this.