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Introducing the New Kindle Fire range (and UK availability!)

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PaulOBrien

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Following on from the success of the original Kindle Fire, Amazon have announced it's successor(s), of which there are many - the updated Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 16GB, Kindle Fire HD 32GB, Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16GB, Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 32GB, Kindle Fire 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless 32GB and Kindle Fire 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless 64GB. Phew!

The above product portfolio is for the US, with the UK receiving only the updated Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 16GB and Kindle Fire HD 32GB.

Pricing for the devices in the US is as follows...
  • updated Kindle Fire - $159
  • Kindle Fire HD 16GB - $199
  • Kindle Fire HD 32GB - $249
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16GB - $299
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 32GB - $369
  • Kindle Fire 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless 32GB - $499 + $49.99 for 1 year LTE service (250MB/month)
  • Kindle Fire 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless 64GB - $599 + $49.99 for 1 year LTE service (250MB/month)
...with the UK pricing actually being pretty groundbreaking too...
  • updated Kindle Fire - £129
  • Kindle Fire HD 16GB - £159
  • Kindle Fire HD 32GB - £199

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The updated Kindle Fire builds on the success of the first version with no major changes, just a bump in CPU speed and an increase from 512MB to 1GB RAM which Amazon claim will give the new device a 40% speed boost. Battery life is also improved. Significantly, the screen remains a 1024x600 panel. The new Kindle Fire software experience is present on this and all the devices, based on Ice Cream Sandwich under the hood.

The HD features a 7" panel like it's budget sibling, but with a 1280x800 resolution to match the Nexus 7. The IPS panel features a 'polarizing filter and anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle' and also adds MIMO wireless, a forward facing camera for Skype, a HDMI output and Dolby audio. As well as technological improvements, the HD also features a less 'chunky' / more attractive design than the lesser model.

Predictably, the 8.9" fire is virtually identical to the 7" HD model with the exception being it's 1920x1200 8.9" screen (yes, 1920x1200!) and a TI OMAP4470 processor, a step up from the OMAP4460 found in the lesser Fires.

Drop in LTE wireless from AT&T and you have the top spec models. A $49.99 per year payment secures 250MB of data transfer per month (with higher priced plans available), 20GB of additional Cloud Drive storage for your photos and more, plus a $10 Amazon Appstore promotional credit.

All the Fire devices have 'ad supported' lock screens that can be disabled for a one off $15 fee.

Amazon made it clear at the launch that they are not out to make money on the devices, rather they are interested in selling you the devices at cost and recouping profit through their ecosystem... a tactic that Google seem to also be employing on the Nexus 7 and one which will make it very hard for companies without a content proposition to compete!

In the US content takes the form of Kindle books, Appstore, Prime Kindle Lending and Instant Video (1 month free trial included), Magazines, Music, Audiobooks... it's pretty impressive. Software innovations also enhance the experience on the tablets (e.g. syncing audiobooks with the reading books) to present a powerful solution.

In the UK the story is predictably less convincing, with LoveFilm streaming replacing the Instant Video offering (again, with a free trial) and a generally smaller library. At least we have the Appstore now! :)

With the aggressive pricing, great hardware and compelling content it looks like a dead-cert that the new Kindle Fire devices will do well in the mass market. Coupled with new improved traditional Kindle devices (with lit screens) Amazon really are on a roll.

For us enthusiasts, it's going to be all about loading stock Android on these... right? ;)

Head on over to the Kindle Store US or Kindle Store UK to learn more.

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