The tablet wars are heating up and how!
On Thursday night, Amazon released two new tablets, the Kindle Fire HD in two sizes and a new version of the Kindle e-reader. Here are the technical specifications for the tablets:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch version: Amazon has increased the screen size from the original Kindle Fire, which had a 7-inch screen. Of course the screen size is still smaller than the new iPad, which has a 9.7-inch screen. But Amazon has also increased the screen resolution for the 8.9 inch version of the Kindle Fire to 1,920 x 1,200. It's no Retina Display but the screen resolution is much higher than the older Kindle Fire which was at 1,024 x 600.
The HD version of the tablet will come in three versions -- 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB version. All of them will be 4G capable. Much more than the Nexus 7 and same as the iPad.
Amazon has increased the processor speed. The Kindle Fire HD comes with a dual-core OMAP processor clocked at 1.5GHz. The original Fire was clocked at 1GHz. Compared to say the Nexus 7, which has a quad-core processor, this is still slower.
It has dual stereo speakers unlike one speaker in the current Fire. A clear sign that Amazon is encouraging you to use it to watch videos and listen to music on your Fire.
In terms of WiFi, Amazon has used a dual-band chip which they claim is 54 percent faster than the Nexus 7, and 41 percent faster than on the iPad 3. The tablet will run on Android 4.0.
The Kindle Fire HD will also come with a front facing camera, that was not originally there. This should be a big boost. Rival tablet, Nexus 7 has a 1.2 megapixel front camera. No rear camera still.
Bluetooth is another new addition.
The price for a WiFi only version is $299, and $499 for a 4G LTE version. But for moment, Amazon will not be shipping them to India.
In terms of cost, Amazon showed that for US consumers, the purchase price, plus the data plan came to a one-year cost of $549 for the Amazon tablet as compared to an iPad which costs $959 with data plan. The Fire HD will be shipped on 20 November and can be ordered today if you are in the US.
Kindle Fire HD 7 inch version: Amazon has increased the screen resolution to 1,280 x 800 which is the same as the Nexus 7. The processor speed is now 1.2GHz with a dual-core processor. There's also a front camera for the HD version of the 7-inch tablet. Bluetooth is also available for this version.
This tablet will also be available in the 16 and 32 GB versions. The new 7-inch Fire will be priced at $159 for a non-HD version and $199 for an HD version. The new pricing is same as the Google Nexus 7 for the HD version.
Again no word on the whether this device will be launched in India. But it seems that according to TechCrunch, the Kindle Fire devices will be sold outside the US for the first time in UK and France.
The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader: Amazon also released a new PaperWhite e-reader which is an updated version of the Kindle Touch. There are two versions of this device. One with 3G and one with WiFi. It has a screen resolution of 1024x768 with a capacitive touchscreen with "PaperWhite" E Ink technology to ensure better lighting and contrast while reading.
It comes with an 8-week battery life, is only 9.1 mm thick. "It's thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback," said Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon, said at the launch.
The WiFi version is priced at $119. The device is now available for pre-order and it will start shipping on 1 October. The Kindle Paperwhite 3G version will cost $179. It is also available for pre-order and will start shipping on 1 October.