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The Kindle Finally Grows Up

/ Sep 14th, 2012 No Comments




The Kindle is the popular line of tablet e-readers that was the de facto standard when it was originally released years ago. Meanwhile, companies left and right released tablet computers that filled the need to do more than just read books at a price Amazon simply couldn’t match. However, with the recent announcement of the new line of Kindle tablets, we can finally say that the Kindle has finally grown up and is ready to play with the big boys.

Amazon announced the refreshed line of Kindle devices only a short while ago, amid speculation that Apple has imminent plans to announce their own slimmed down iPad model. Regardless, Amazon definitely stole some headlines and make the tech world notice their line of produces once more.

If you are curious about the competition, check out our review of the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

[adsense250itp]The lowest end unit, the Fire, will retail for $159 and offer a 7″ LCD display, Wi-Fi capability and 8GB of hard drive space. The new version of the Fire will offer 40% faster performance and much longer battery life. It’ll have integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail and other apps. This unit is definitely a great entry-level tablet computer meant for those people that strictly are interested in reading books, maybe streaming the occasional video and checking email and browsing the web. At the low price point of $159 it’s a pretty darn good bargain that definitely fits the “hey I know my Mom doesn’t need the best but would like this” category.

The next unit up is the one that got a ton of press – the new Kindle Fire HD. This unit will offer 1280×800 HD resolution with a polarizing filter and anti-glare technology so that you can see it from any angle. It has Dolby audio and dual-driver stereo speakers and is the first table to offer dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for speeds purported to be 40% faster than the iPad 3. The 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with the PowerVR 3D Graphics core are said to power this unit well, and there’s an integrated camera so that you can do HD calls via Skype. The 16GB unit of the Kindle Fire HD is just $199 (click here to see it) and for those of you that need more space, for $249 you get the Kindle Fire HD with 32GB.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the announcement from Amazon was that the Kindle line was finally going big – literally. The next model announced was the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ which brings a true 1920×1200 HD display with the same polarizing filter and anti-glare technology seen on the smaller Kindle. It also will feature the Dolby stereo system but this device has a faster 1.5Ghz process. Also armed with the dual-band, dual-antenna and the front facing HD camera, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ for $299 (16GB model) is very competitively prices against the competition. The 32GB model of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ runs for $369 which is also decently priced.

Kindle Fire HD Boasts a Front Facing HD Camera to Make Skype Calls With

Kindle Fire HD Boasts a Front Facing HD Camera to Make Skype Calls With

Finally, the last unit in the new Kindle line of products is the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE Wireless which runs for $499 (32GB) or $599 (64GB). This unit comes with everything that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ comes with, but this unit also has an ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless plan from AT&T. For those of you not familiar with LTE technology, just think blazing fast internet speeds via cell carriers. A 250MB/month for 12 months plan will cost just a one-time fee of $49.99! There are also 3GB and 5GB monthly plans available.

Amazon has positioned its Kindle line very properly as to not take on the competition, specifically Apple, head-on. While owners of the Google Nexus 7 might want to justifiably enter the argument, there’s no denying that Amazon made a splash with this announcement. Specifically, the Fire being just $159 is a real bargain and is priced so well that it should definitely undercut what any of the other “big” vendors are going to do this holiday season. But perhaps the best bargain of all will be that Kindle Fire HD unit for $199 which is under that magic $200 price point that even the Google Nexus 7 didn’t really hit. For the same price, the Nexus 7 only has an 8GB drive but at the same price point, the Kindle Fire HD has 16GB.

While we haven’t gotten our hands on a Kindle Fire HD just yet (stay tuned) as they are slated for release today, we can say that this line brings Amazon back into the fold of relevancy in the competitive tablet computing segment of the tech economy. The Fire HD is undoubtedly primed to face off well against the Nexus 7 and it remains to be seen if Apple can even come close to a $200 price point with a potential iPad Mini (be sure to read up on that). Meanwhile, the new larger sized Kindles at 8.9″ definitely add a new dimension to the line and given their price point still come underneath what others are doing. It’ll be interesting to see how the 4G LTE edition works out – it’s a unique product in the marketplace and the data plan looks very competitive.

One thing we can say for certain is that Amazon has certainly positioned the Kindle to be a mature product line worthy of the headlines.

Sean Gibson

Sean Gibson

Founder, Featured Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sean Gibson was the founder of Gaming Illustrated and served as Executive Editor and lead reviewer from 2002 to 2014. He no longer is affiliated with Gaming Illustrated, but remembers his time with the site fondly.
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson

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