New Delhi: Amazon.com Inc. refreshed its Kindle line of gadgets on Thursday. It updated its Kindle Fire tablet computer and also announced new stand-alone e-reader models.
Taking aim at a fast-growing market, Amazon announced the launch of seven new devices - Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, Kindle Paperwhite 3G e-reader, All-new Kindle e-reader, Kindle Fire HD (7-inch) tablet, Kindle fire HD (8.9-inch) tablet, Kindle Fire HD (8.9-inch) tablet with 4G LTE wireless, and the upgraded Kindle Fire tablet.
Kindle Paperwhite e-readers
The Kindle paperwhite e-reader has a backlit, Paperwhite display. It also offers option to change fonts. The device has a capacitive touchscreen. The Paperwhite Kindle e-reader is said to offer 8-week battery life. The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader is 9.1mm thick and weighs 7.5 ounces. "It's thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback," said Jeff Bezos, CEO. Amazon, adding "The light is extremely adjustable."
Its "Time to read" feature tells users how much time is left in your chapter or book (actual time, not pages). It tracks your reading speed and adjusts time. The device is priced at $119. The device is now available for pre-order and it will start shipping on October 1.
The Kindle Paperwhite 3G version will cost $179. It is also available for pre-order and will start shipping on October 1.
All-new Kindle e-reader
Dropping the price of its low-end Kindle to $69, from $79, Amazon launched the upgraded version of the old low-end Kindle as the "All-new Kindle" e-reader. It has new fonts, crispier text and 15 per cent faster page turns. It will start shipping next Friday (September 14).
Kindle Fire HD tablets
Amazon also launched the new Kindle Fire tablet. Called Kindle Fire HD, it will have two Wi-Fi channels for faster transfers.
That will be crucial for high-definition movies and other large files, Bezos said. The HD model will also have more storage, starting at 16 gigabytes. "For a high-def device, 8 GB is dead on arrival," Bezos said.
The Kindle Fire HD tablet will come in three versions - 7-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet(16GB), 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet(16GB), and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet with 4G LTE wireless(32GB). The 8.9-inch high definition display has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels at 254 ppi.
The Kindle Fire HD 7-inch has 16GB of storage, and is priced at $199. It will start shipping next Friday.
The Kindle fire HD 8.9-inch (16GB model) is available for $299. The device is available for pre-order and will start shipping on Novermber 20.
Lastly, Amazon also launched the 32GB Kindle Fire HD tablet with 4G LTE connectivity for $499. It will also start shipping on November 20.
Upgraded Kindle Fire tablet
Amazon is updating its Kindle Fire tablet computer as it steps up competition with Apple's iPad. It will cost $159, down from $199 for the old model. It will start shipping next Friday (September 14). The upgraded model is claimed to have new faster processor, 40 per cent faster performance, 2x RAM, and a longer battery life.
Amazon also unveiled a slew of other features for its devices.
There's "Immersion Reading," in which the book is narrated by a famous actor. There's also "X-Ray for Movies" on the Kindle Fire HD, where you can tap the screen at any time to find out who the actor is. That uses the IMDb database service owned by Amazon.
"Whispersync for Games," meanwhile, will let you pick up where you left off when playing games.
The Fire will also come with parental controls, adjustable by content. A kid may have free reign on books but have limits on games, TV and movies, for instance. Different time limits can be set for different kids.
There's also an HD front-facing camera for the first time, and it can be used with a custom app for the video chat service Skype. The iPad has two cameras, which is useful for videoconferencing.
Bezos on Thursday stressed that Amazon saw the Kindle family of e-readers and tablets as a service, with hardware a critical element of its digital content business.
Amazon is competing with Apple, Google Inc and other technology companies for a foothold in the booming mobile-device market, because these devices are fast becoming the preferred tool to access consumer media over the Internet. As the world's largest Internet retailer, it is essential for Amazon to have a major presence in this new sector.
Amazon is willing to make little or no money selling cheap tablets and e-readers because it wants to get the devices into as many hands as possible, then sell higher-margin digital content, such as e-books, video, games, apps and music, to a more connected and engaged customer base.
The event came a day after Nokia Corp. and Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility division announced five new smartphones between them. The two from Nokia will be the company's first to run the next version of Windows.
(With inputs from Reuters and Associated press)