Friday, 07 September 2012 08:28

Amazon goes hi-def with the Kindle Fire HD

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When Amazon announced that its Kindle Fire had sold out, a lot of people assumed a replacement model must be close at hand. The arrival of the Kindle Fire HD - along with the Kindle Paperwhite - proved them right.

There are three models in the Kindle Fire HD family, with prices starting from $US199, and Amazon also announced new generation models of the standard definition Kindle Fire at just $US159 and the basic Kindle at $US89.

Despite the relatively low prices, the Kindle Fire HD includes high-end features such as a "high-performance" OMAP4 4470 processor and Imagination SGX544 graphics engine; 10-band 4G LTE wireless (not in all configurations); dual antenna, dual band, MIMO Wi-Fi; dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus; a front-facing camera with Skype; and Bluetooth and HDMI interfaces.

The low-end 7in model has a 1280 by 800 pixel display, while the other two models use a 8.9in 1920 by 1200 pixel panel.

As with Apple's Retina displays, Amazon claims the 254 pixel per inch resolution means the pixels are indistinguishable to the human eye.

The LCD and touch sensor are fused together to reduce glare, Gorilla Glass is used for strength, and an 'Advanced True Wide' polarising filter is said to give improved contrast and colour from a wide range of angles.

As for memory, the 7in offers the choice of 16 or 32GB, while the 8.9in models are offered with 16, 32 or 64GB.

Example prices are $US199 for the 16GB 7in model, and $US499 for the 8.9in model with 32GB of storage and 4G wireless.

Where Amazon has previously built the cost of wireless data into content pricing, the company offers a $US49.99 one year 4G data package.

The new generation Kindle Fire has a faster processor, more memory and longer battery life than its predecessor, and costs $US159.

For those who still want a traditional e-reader rather than a tablet, the new generation Kindle costs $US89 and features 15% faster page turns.

"Today we are excited to introduce the new latest-generation Kindle—still incredibly small and light with all the features customers love about Kindle, including a high-contrast e-ink display that reads like real paper, with no glare, even in bright sunlight—now even faster and with new, improved fonts," said Dave Limp, VP Kindle, Amazon.com.

"At this incredible price we expect to see millions more readers joining the Kindle community."

No indication was been given about Australian pricing or availability for any of the new models.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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