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Amazon launches two new Fires and one new Kindle

The Kindle Fires include Kindle Fire HD in 8.9″ ($499/$299) and 7″ ($199) and a regular Kindle Fire in 7″ ($199). The new Kindle is called a Paperwhite.  The tablets come with a new feature called “Kindle Free Time” that allows you to make profiles for members in your family, set daily screen limits, and give limited content access.

Paperwhite

Paperwhite display

Paperwhite is not an eink screen but black ink on white screen with a light screen overlay that is adjustable. Per the Amazon site:

  • Paperwhite has 62% more pixels for unsurpassed resolution 25% better contrast for sharp, dark text
  • New hand-tuned fonts – 6 font styles, 8 adjustable sizes
  • 8-week battery life, even with the light on
  • Holds up to 1,100 books – take your library wherever you go
  • Built-in Wi-Fi or 3G for $179

Updated 7″ Fire ($159)

  • 40% faster performance
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

7″ Fire HD ($199)

  • 1280×800 HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology
  • Exclusive Dolby audio and dual-driver stereo speakers
  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
  • 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core
  • Free Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera
  • Free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content

Kindle Fire

Fire HD 8.9 ($299)

  • 1920×1200 HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology
  • Exclusive Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers
  • 1.5Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core
  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40%
  • Free Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera
  • Optional:  4G LTE wireless for $499. Get 250 MB a month for 12 months with a one-time payment of $49.99. Also included: 20 GB of additional Cloud Drive storage for your photos and more, plus a $10 Amazon Appstore promotional credit.  You can pay for 3GB and 5GB monthly data plan from AT&T

 

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

20 Comments

  1. Lorenda Christensen
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 04:14:28

    I noticed they don’t have a new Touch model in the line-up. Anyone know whether they plan to continue the Kindle Touch with updated products? I love mine and I’d be sad to see it gone.

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  2. Willa
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 06:20:00

    @Lorenda Christensen:

    The Touch has sold out at Amazon.com . . . . ergo discontinued.

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  3. Lorenda Christensen
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 06:34:42

    That sucks. Now, granted, I had to return the first one I received because when I’d touch, it would pick a random page to turn to instead of the next one in line, but the replacement they sent is great. A must-have since I’m living temporarily overseas and can’t haul my bookshelves around. If this one breaks, I might have to try something else.

    I have an iPad, but the e-ink is way easier on my eyes.

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  4. Nadia Lee
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 07:03:44

    @Lorenda Christensen: Paperwhite basically replaced Touch. Note the lack of navigation buttons on the model.

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  5. Anne V
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 09:00:38

    I wish Amazon would use a carrier other than AT&T – AT&T customer service is a nightmare, and reliance on AT&T is a dealbreaker for me.

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  6. CourtneyLee
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 09:27:48

    I was looking at the product page for the Paperwhite and it looks like it is an eInk screen, it just has two layers on top of it–the touch screen and the light guide. My 3rd Gen Kindle died back in April due to one too many encounters with my young children and I’ve been waiting for a self-lit Kindle to come out to replace it.

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  7. Lorenda Christensen
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 09:47:19

    @Nadia Lee: Ah – I see. This is good news. I’ll stop pouting now.

    ReplyReply

  8. DS
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:17:30

    Agreed about ATT. Have had them since 2004 and I hate them– passionately. Didn’t have any problem until I got my third gen iPhone and lost my unlimited data plan. I didn’t use that much but for some reason in the early am, like 2 or 3 am when I was tucked up in my bed, I started to have mysterious large amounts of data used. ATT could not explain it to me except they were sure it was my fault.

    Also I noticed yesterday that Amazon is offering a whispersync connection between ebooks and audible books. The audible books are offered at a special mark down if you buy the ebook from Amazon and you can move from listening to reading and back. I don’t know if I would take advantage of this often, but I can think of a few books where I already own the ebook and the audible file and paid full price for each.

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  9. Brian
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:58:18

    Paperwhite is not an eink screen but black ink on white screen with a light screen overlay that is adjustable.

    It is an eInk screen (with a light & touch layer laminated to it), it’s a higher resolution screen than previous Kindles. If you turn the light all the way down the screen looks similar to other eInk screens (with perhaps better contrast? reports vary).

    One thing folks might not notice is that the Fire models are “with Special Offers” (meaning Ads). There is no way to remove the ads yet, but Amazon has commented that there will be soon.

    One other thing. The Paperwhite Kindles have no audio, meaning to TTS which will matter for some folks. It does have landscape mode which will matter to others. Also it has less storage space than the Kindle Touch or Kindle 3/Keyboard which folks might care about.

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  10. Rebe
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:59:04

    I’m waiting to see reviews about the Paperwhite. I really love my Touch (bummed that it’s discontinued) and I’ve been a fan of eink for a LONG time. I’m wondering if the white background will be as easy on my eyes as the eink screen. At least it’s not backlit, which makes my eyes look like I’ve been smoking crack after an hour or so.

    And thanks for the heads up about Audible books, DS. I’ll have to let my parents know, since they listen to a lot more audiobooks on their kindles than I do. That’s a great deal. I’ll have to sync up my Audible/Amazon accounts.

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  11. Mo
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 11:30:35

    I was excited about the Paperwhite until I saw the memory was only 2gig and will only hold about 1100 books. My Kindel 3 (keyboard) has 4gig and I currently have 1900+ books loaded. No sale for me yet.

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  12. Brian
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 12:05:34

    I’m waiting to see reviews about the Paperwhite. I really love my Touch (bummed that it’s discontinued) and I’ve been a fan of eink for a LONG time. I’m wondering if the white background will be as easy on my eyes as the eink screen.

    @Rebe:
    The Paperwhite is eInk. Think of it as the Kinle Touch version 2. If you turn the light off the screen will look similar to that of the Touch (although with higher resolution). The light is pointed down at the screen (like a book light) as opposed to a backlight on LCD which shine out of the screen and into your face.

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  13. Gwen Hayes
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 12:05:41

    @Brian: No audio? Dang. Why would they finally come out with my idea of a perfect ereader (eink, but lit) and come out with a way to whispersync my Audible book to my digital book on the same day, but not put them both in the same device. *cries*

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  14. Brian
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 12:30:54

    @Gwen Hayes:
    I think it’s a couple of things. One non of their competitors (Sony, B&N, Kobo) offer audio or TTS so they don’t need it as a feature to compete in the reader arena. Two I think they had a target price and trimmed everything they could to meet it and still possibly make a little bit on the device. They spent something like 2 years R&D on the lit screen with capacitive touch (not resistive like the old Sony’s or IR like most others are using now) and that can’t have been cheap. Also it’s one more feature they have to provide tech support for.

    It is a bit of a shame. I know there are blind people who use the K3 with it’s audio, TTS and accessibility features and I know there are dyslexic people out there who use the TTS (not to mention others who like to use it).

    I think going forward dedicated readers from the big companies are going to only carry the bare minimum of features. Everything else will be up to 3rd party reader manufacturers and to tablets.

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  15. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 12:58:58

    Nothing has persuaded me to trade in my Nexus 7 or my Nook Touch.

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  16. Brian
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 13:06:05

    @Lynne Connolly:
    The Nexus 7 is great, I love it. Nothing in the FireHD 7 that makes is worth switching IMO, maybe unless a person needs/wants the Amazon video integration (for US users I don’t know how the Love Film stuff will work) and hopefully Amazon will release an app for that for non-Fire android users, after all their primary goal is to sell content. Of course if one want a bigger screen the FireHD 8.9 is pretty attractive.

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  17. JenM
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 19:47:53

    I’ve got a 2.5 YO K2 that is starting to lose battery charge so I know it’s only a matter of time. I pre-ordered my Paperwhite yesterday. I did notice that the storage space had been cut, but I try to keep the # of books on my device to 500 or so, so I’ll be fine. If you have over 1,000 books on the device, I’ve heard that it starts to have problems synching anyway.

    As for the TTS it’s really too bad they’ve done away with it in the Paperwhite, but isn’t it still available in the K Keyboard?personally, I didn’t use it, but I always hate to see features dropped.

    ReplyReply

  18. Brian
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 22:51:56

    @Brian:

    One thing folks might not notice is that the Fire models are “with Special Offers” (meaning Ads). There is no way to remove the ads yet, but Amazon has commented that there will be soon.

    Just an update, Amazon is now saying that there are no plans to offer a way to opt out of the ads on the Kindle Fires or the Paperwhite (although you can buy a PW without ads to start with, just not remove them from the ads model like you can with earlier eInk Kindles).

    The New Kindle Fires will be supporting TTS (the older one didn’t), which is good news for some.

    They’ve posted an FAQ here…
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/forums/kindleqna/ref=cm_cd_tft_tp?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1GLDPZMNR1X53&cdThread=Tx1WEM06OFQ59MC

    ReplyReply

  19. Brian
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 22:30:26

    And now Amazon has backtracked. Apparently the idea of not being able to opt out of the ads on the FireHD was so unpopular you will now be able to do so for $15.

    http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2012/09/08/amazon-will-let-you-pay-15-to-opt-out-of-theadverts-on-the-kindle-fire-hd/

    ReplyReply

  20. Selene
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 01:38:34

    Why, oh why, can’t they make a touch-screen kindle version that also has buttons? With a button, you can have your finger there on it all the time, and just click when you want to turn a page. With a touch, you have to move your finger before you click every time. (And further away it seems if you want to turn the page with your left hand?)

    ReplyReply

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