Remember the Amazon Kindle Fire? The $199 7-inch tablet, launched last year, created a category of budget, yet high-performing tablets. It became one of the fastest selling tablets, mostly due to its attractive price. However, Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet (my review of it) pretty much trumped the Kindle Fire in almost every way, while maintaining the same price tag.
But Amazon is not resting and is not going to let Google take away all the spotlight. At an event in Santa Monica on Thursday, the company unveiled not one, not two, but three models of the second-generation Kindle Fire, all with an HD label.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will sell for $199, just like the original. 32 GB is available for $249. The screen resolution has been bumped up to 1280 x 800 (same as Nexus 7 – up from 1024 x 600).
In addition to the 7-inch model, an 8.9 inch model is also available for $299. 32 GB is available for $369. This model has a resolution of 1920 x 1200, which is an incredible 254 ppi. For comparison purposes, the third-generation iPad has a screen density of 264 ppi.
An 32 GB 4G LTE model is available for $499. 250 MB of 4G LTE wireless data is available for $50 a year. It also includes 20 GB of free cloud storage and $10 in Amazon.com credit.
The 8.9 inch models will include Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4470 processor (1.5 GHz dual core), while the 7-inch model includes the OMAP 4460 processor (1.2 GHz dual core). Amazon claims these chips are much faster than the Nvidia Tegra 3, but independent benchmark tests have not been performed yet.
Furthermore, the base storage has been bumped up to 16 GB (from 8 GB). Amazon says this is due to the increased storage demands of HD content. All models also include a front-facing HD camera, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Dolby audio via dual stereo speakers. The operating system on all models have been upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (with Amazon’s custom modifications).
Lastly, the original Kindle Fire is now available for $159.
All models are now available for pre-order. The 7-inch model will be available on September 15, while the 8.9 inch models will be available on November 20.
The Kindle Fire doesn’t have access to the Google Play store, but these new Kindle Fires could still be a threat to the Nexus 7, especially if tests support Amazon’s claim that the processor is faster.
What do you think of the Kindle Fire HD? Are you planning on ordering one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.