Amazon unveils new Kindle lineup

After making an informal debut in a televised ad late last night, Amazon's larger Kindle Fire has finally been unveiled. Introduced today at a press event in Los Angeles, the new Kindle Fire HD features an 8.9-inch 1920x1200, 254ppi display. It includes an HD front-facing camera and a laminated touch sensor for better visuals and 25-percent less glare. Under the hood, Amazon has dropped in a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which it says outperforms the Tegra 3. The Kindle Fire HD also includes stereo speakers, an upgrade over the Kindle Fire's mono driver. While the company is also offering a 4G LTE variation, Amazon has also improved Wi-Fi networking by adding a dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz receiver, two antennas, MIMO radio technology. It'll ship with 16GB of local storage, with additional storage available in the cloud.

Along with the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon has made expansions to its Whispersync technology, allowing users to save their progress in games and audiobooks to the cloud. Amazon has added a new and improved email client, which makes use of the larger, high-resolution display. Similarly, Facebook and Skype will be offering their own optimized apps for the new models. The Kindle Fire OS also underwent a series of upgrades, including support for multiple accounts and new parental controls. Now, users with administrative access can dictate how much time can be spent reading, playing games, or watching videos. Another new feature, Immersion Reading, gives Kindle Fire HD-specific e-reader features, such as narration from professionally recorded sources. X-Ray, a books and media viewing companion feature, can be accessed while reading a book or watching a movie or TV episode, providing an array of relevant information in realtime.

The Kindle Fire HD joins Amazon's new suite of Kindle devices, including the new 7-inch Kindle Fire, a smaller 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and the Kindle Paperwhite. The Kindle Fire HD will be available for $299, with a separate 4G LTE model available for $499. Service is furnished by AT&T with data plans costing $49.99 per year with a monthly data cap of 250MB, 20GB of cloud storage, and a $10 Appstore credit. Owners will also have the option to upgrade to 3GB and 5GB data plans, though pricing information was not revealed.

Amazon's new 7-inch Kindle Fire: twice the RAM, faster processor, longer battery life, $159

Along with an all-new Kindle e-reader with illuminated paperwhite display and a lower-price standard Kindle, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just announced an updated Kindle Fire tablet during a press conference today. The new Fire features a 7-inch display, a 40-percent faster processor, twice as much RAM, and longer battery life than the original model.

Despite the upgrades, Amazon is actually dropping the price of the new Kindle Fire by $40 compared to the original model, as it will now sell for $159 when it starts shipping on September 14th.

Kindle Paperwhite e-reader announced, $119 Wi-Fi and $179 3G models ship October 1st

Amid a storm of tablet-related hype and speculation, Amazon just announced the latest iteration of its "traditional" e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite. The name refers to its expected new screen technology for a sharper (212 ppi) and higher-contrast display, and also features a frontlight that brings parity with Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The device is entirely controlled by touch — hardware page-turning switches are out, and so is the home button.

The interface has taken a page out of the Kindle Fire's book by offering a "cover mode" homescreen that lets you swipe through your library. The device also uses the same X-Ray content analysis feature found on the Kindle Touch, has controls for the light, and lets you change the fonts.

Amazon is touting its patented light guide technology which keeps the lighting even across the screen and allows you to leave it on all the time without detriment to battery life — it'll apparently last for eight weeks between charges. The touch technology means it has a thinner bezel, and at 9.1mm thin and 7.5 ounces Jeff Bezos describes the device as "thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback."

The Kindle Paperwhite is available for order today and will start shipping on October 1st, with the Wi-Fi model costing $119 and the 3G-enabled variant going for $179. It's unclear, however, if either model will employ Amazon's Special Offer ads.

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Do you own an e-reader, ONTD?  I have an iPad and read my e-books there.