The New Kindle Fire Family Roundup | Weekend Watchlist

abc_kindle_fire_hd_2_lpl_120906_wgThe biggest tech news this week has to be Amazon’s announcement of their new line of Kindle Fire tablets. With four separate models running the gamut from awesome ($159 tablet!) to the absurd ($600 tablet on AT&T?), there’s certainly a lot to talk about. And Europe finally gets to order some this time!

Before we begin our Feature Presentation, here’s a quick recap of the new members of Amazon’s ever growing Kindle family:

  • Kindle Fire – Similar to the original 7” version sold in the U.S. last year. Amazon is boasting a 40% performance increase in this new model, and has doubled the storage space to 16GB.  $160 for 16GB
  • Kindle Fire HD 7 – Amazon’s new defacto tablet set to take on the Google’s Nexus 7. This 7” model adds a 1.2Ghz dual-core CPU, dual-band WiFi, stereo speakers, front facing camera, and bumps up the resolution to 1280x800. $199 for 16GB or 32GB for $249.
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9" –  Because rounding up is sooo 2010. Amazon’s iPad killer bumps the CPU speed up to 1.5Ghz, ads a Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core, and increases resolution to 1920x1200. $299 for 16GB or $369 for 32GB.
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE Wireless – The Big One with the really long name. The only addition here is a 4G LTE cellular radio. And an accompanying bill from AT&T. If you’ve got a purse big enough to lug around a 9” tablet, the basic plan gives you tiny 250MB a month for a dirt cheap $50 a year. Things go up fast if you need a real data plan. How much more? Amazon isn’t saying yet. $499 for 32GB or $599 for 64GB.

    All of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets ship plastered full of ads at no charge in the U.S. Sadly, our European friends will just have to make due with the Kindle’s stock methods of ‘content discovery’ to encourage their spending habits.

    On with the show!

    The only logical place to start off is the press conference itself. Coming to you directly from the horse’s mouth, Amazon was so kind as to post their September 6th press conference on YouTube. Even those uninterested in tablets will want to check this one out as all of Amazon’s new e-readers are on display as well. Relive all the marketing magic in this 72 minute presentation:

    And of course we have a series of first-look videos from every media outlet available. What follows is a short selection. Bear in mind that these reporters have spent very little time with these devices in very controlled circumstances. In fact, if they’re anything like the retail demo units I’ve seen, the tablets are not even connecting to Amazon and are running in a simulated, offline ‘sandbox’ mode.


    And a big, big thanks to ABC who totally buggered the formatting for this article as soon as I embedded their video. Good coding there, guys.

    So, how about the devices that built the Kindle brand. Oh, yes. I’d be sleeping on the couch if I failed to post something about Amazon’s newest, most exiting addition to their line of eBook readers: The Kindle Paperwhite. This one’s sure to get hi-tech book fans drooling. Reality check: That 8 weeks battery life Amazon is touting is for 30 minutes of use a day with WiFi off. Still very impressive results, but hardly 2 months of real usage.

    Finally we turn to to ReadWriteWeb to spash a little cold water in our techno-lusting faces.

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