Amazon made a whole bunch of Kindle-related announcements late on Wednesday, including some new devices and a new OS.
First off, Amazon unveiled its seventh-generation Kindle, the Kindle Voyage. Amazon calls this its “most advanced Kindle ever”. Well, I would hope so. “Not as advanced as the last one” doesn’t sound nearly as appealing. The display is brighter, has higher resolution, and higher contrast. It also has “reimagined” page turns. It costs $199.
The company says, “Kindle Voyage features an all-new design, with a beautiful flush glass front and a magnesium back, so it is strong, thin, and light. At just 7.6 mm thin and weighing less than 6.4 ounces, Kindle Voyage is the thinnest device we’ve ever built, making it even easier to hold with one hand and read for hours.”
It has an adaptive, smarter front light, which is 39% brighter, and is available with free 3G. There’s also a new oragami-style cover design.
The company also unveiled a new $79 Kindle, which includes a 20% faster processor, twice the storage of its predecessor, and a new touch interface.
Both devices are now available for pre-order.
The new Kindle family consists of the Kindle, the previously announced Kindle Paperwhite, and the Kindle Voyage. But that’s not including the Kindle Fire line, which brings us to the next announcements.
Amazon also announced it’s most powerful tablet to date, the new Fire HD, apparently dropping the “Kindle” from the branding. It features a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, an HD display, and five color choices. It also comes in two sizes – 6” for $99 and 7” for $139.
CEO Jeff Bezos says the device is the “most powerful tablet under $100.”
Here’s the feature rundown from the announcement:
High-definition display—Crisp and vivid with over 1 million pixels (252 ppi for 6”, 216 ppi for 7”), now brighter than the previous generation Kindle Fire HD, with vibrant colors and whiter whites.
Ultrafast quad-core processor—Running at up to 1.5 GHz, the quad-core processor has 3x the graphics performance of the Samsung Tab 4—Fire HD can run even the most graphically intensive games.
Front and rear-facing cameras—Video chat with friends and family with the front facing camera; take photos or capture videos in 1080
Pocketable design—Small and portable so it fits in a pocket or purse and is easy to hold with one hand.
Incredible reliability—With a Gorilla Glass display and a design that is engineered for best-in-class reliability, you don’t have to worry about Fire HD breaking. Many other tablets cut corners on reliability—in lab testing they are anywhere from 2x to 20x more likely than Fire HD to break if dropped. Even the iPad mini is 2x more likely to break.
Five fun colors—Fire HD is available in black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron.
Profiles give everyone a personalized experience—With Profiles, each family member gets their own profile, including individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels.
Family Library—Never again worry about whose account has the Prime membership or who bought that book you want to read. Family Library links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content within your household without changing accounts. Family Library lets families share their content while using a single Fire tablet with different profiles, or also across multiple devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire phone, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as on all of the other most popular devices and platforms with the free Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Instant Video apps. Family Library will be coming soon as part of a free, over-the-air software update.
ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction)—Customers loved it on Amazon Fire TV, so now available on tablets by popular demand, ASAP predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for instant playback before you even hit play, so they start instantly.
Amazon-exclusive features—X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Prime Instant Video Downloads, and more.
Dolby Digital Plus Audio—The standard in high-end audio. Fire HD delivers crisp and clear sound without distortion.
All-day battery life—Delivers up to 8 hours of reading, listening to music, watching video, and browsing the web.
Stay connected and productive—Fast web browsing, email and calendar support, plus a new pre-loaded WPS Office app lets you create, edit, and view Office documents.
World’s best content ecosystem—Over 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, and Android apps and games—including Facebook, Netflix, iHeartRadio, Twitter, Angry Birds Stella, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, and more—with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.
There are also new accessories for the device, including a new protective cover and a series of adapters.
Then there’s the Fire HDX, which is powered by a quad-core 2.5 GHz processor and a 70% faster graphics engine. The display features Dynamic Light Control which automatically adjusts the color. It’s also the first tablet with Dolby Atmos audio.
Here’s the feature rundown on this one:
Powerful 2.5 GHz processor with a 70% faster graphics engine for exceptional speed and fluidity, especially for graphically-intensive games.
Exclusive HDX display with incredible pixel density (339 ppi) and perfect 100% sRGB color accuracy—now with Dynamic Light Control, which makes the pages of a book more closely resemble a real piece of paper in different lighting conditions.
Startlingly light design—20% lighter than iPad Air.
Exclusive new audio—twice as loud as iPad Air, with crisp, clear sound and no distortion; plus Fire HDX is the first tablet with Dolby Atmos.
Fastest Wi-Fi, with support for 802.11ac MIMO which delivers up to 4x the peak bandwidth.
Available with ultrafast 4G LTE wireless.
New Fire Keyboard is the thinnest and lightest full-featured tablet keyboard, with a trackpad to make productivity and navigation easier than ever.
Powered by the latest version of Fire OS—Fire OS 4 “Sangria”—with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services.
Family Library lets all members of your household access your apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content, even if they use a different Amazon account.
Free, unlimited cloud storage for photos taken with new Fire tablets, automatically backed-up wirelessly.
Front-facing HD camera makes it easy to stay in touch with Skype; 8MP rear-facing camera allows for high-resolution photos and 1080p HD video, and includes an LED flash, Electronic Image Stabilization, and a wide-aperture f/2.2 lens. The Camera application also allows customers to capture panoramas, lenticulars, and HDR recommended shots, and the film strip gives access to recent photos and videos, along with the ability to view, edit, share, and delete right from the camera.
Firefly lets you quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products.
ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play, so videos start instantly.
The Mayday button delivers revolutionary live tech support—one touch connects you to an Amazon expert who can guide you remotely through any feature—24×7, 365 days a year, and it’s free. Nearly 75% of Fire HDX and Fire phone customer questions now come via the Mayday button.
Then there’s the Fire HD Kids Edition, which includes a two-year guarantee, so they’ll replace if if the kid breaks it. It also has a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which gives kids access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.
It has a quad-core processor, an HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon’s movies, TV shows, songs, books, and Android apps and games.
It costs $149 for a 6” and $189 for a 7”.
New Operating System
Finally, Amazon introduced its new operating system – Fire OS 4 Sangria, which comes pre-loaded on the new Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets, and will be available as a free, over-the-air update for all 3rd generation Fire tablets.
“When we think about Fire OS, we start with what matters to customers—ease of use and performance,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices. “Fire OS 4 improves in both of these areas, and deeply integrates software, content, and the Cloud to deliver services that are only available from Amazon, including Family Library, Firefly, and free cloud storage for photos.”
It’s based on Android KitKat.
Pre-orders are available for all the new devices.
Images via Amazon