Looks like the 2012 holiday season is beginning in earnest for Amazon. The company officially unveiled its new Kindle lineup on Sept. 6, as well as shipping dates that ensure the devices will be available just in time as stocking stuffer options. Four new devices anchor Amazon’s Kindle lineup, including two tablets and two variants of a new E-ink reader that could be best described as illuminating. Amazon also plans to continue offering its older devices, with last year’s Kindle getting a price drop to $69 and the original Kindle Fire available for $159. In the meantime, here’s a quick lowdown of each new device.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9”
This new Kindle tablet subscribes to the philosophy that bigger is better, sporting an 8.9-inch 1920 x 200 HD display that can output 1080p content at 254 pixels per inch. The tablet also features a polarizing filter directly on its In-Plane Switching display for improved viewing angles. Amazon claims that screen glare for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is reduced by laminating the touch sensor and LCD into a single layer of glass.
Serving as the tablet’s brains is a 1.5Ghz dual core processor that’s paired with an Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core. Connectivity is provided via WiFi or — for a $50 annual fee — 4G wireless LTE service from AT&T. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” also has a front camera for Skype lovers.
Pricing is $499 for the 32GB version and $599 for the 64GB version. The device starts shipping on Nov. 20
Kindle Fire HD
Unlike its bigger brother, the regular Kindle Fire HD sports a smaller 7-inch screen and corresponding lower price tag. It’s still capable of high-definition video albeit at 720p. It also offers the same improved viewing angles and glare reduction.
Powering the Kindle Fire HD is a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor and the same PowerVR 3D graphics core in its larger relative. Pricing is also more affordable with the 16GB version costing $199 and the 32GB version lightening your wallet by $249. The Kindle Fire HD still offers a front-facing camera so users can use it for video chatting as well. Wireless connectivity is only via WiFi for this tablet, however, as it does not come with 4G LTE. Shipping for the device starts Sept. 14.
The Kindle Paperwhite comes in two flavors: a regular version for $139 and a 3G version for $199. You can also get both devices for $20 less if you opt for the “Special Offers” versions that feature ads. The biggest feature for the device is a built-in light, which follows in the footsteps of the Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight. Battery life with the light bumped up to the “10” setting is about eight weeks — provided that you only read 30 minutes per day and have wireless capability turned off. In short, it’s about 28 hours.
Contrast is said to be 25 percent improved from its predecessor. Amazon also stressed that it does not use a backlight. Instead, it brightens the display via its top screen layer, which helps reduce eye strain, Amazon claims. Storage is 2GB, which is enough for about 1,100 books. Folks with mountains of files can still avail themselves of free cloud storage from Amazon. Just keep in mind that the free storage is limited to Amazon content. Shipping commences on Oct. 1.
Well, there you have it, Amazon’s newest and — pardon the pun — brightest Kindle lineup. For more about e-readers, make sure to check out our E-reader hub.