Amazon announces $199 tablet, new Kindle E-readers

Amazon enters the tablet wars with the well-priced Kindle Fire and ups the e-reader market ante with new e-readers

After months of hype, Amazon today announced the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet with a $199 price tag. Amazon also refreshed its line of e-readers with a $149 Kindle Touch 3G, a $99 Kindle Touch without 3G, and a non-Touch $79 Kindle.

The pricing alone is sure to spook both Apple and Barnes & Noble. Here are the details on the Amazon Kindle Fire and the new Kindle e-readers.

Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch IPS display with 1024-pixel by 600-pixel resolution, plus a dual-core processor, 8GB of storage and 7.5 hours of video playback. The Fire has a USB port for file transfers, but no cameras and no microphone. The tablet measures 7.5-by-4.7-by-0.45 inches, and weighs 14.6 ounces.

Techworld: The Amazon Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2 vs. Nook Colour vs. everything else

But this tablet isn't supposed to be about tech specs. It's meant to be a dead-simple slate for consuming Amazon content. The interface has a search bar on top, which can search locally, in the cloud, and on the Web. Below that is a strip of content categories, followed by a stylized list of recent content. On the bottom of the screen, users can pin their favorite apps, books, and other media.

Amazon's digital storefronts include e-books, movies, TV shows, music, and apps. Several magazine publishers are also bringing their periodicals to the tablet. Although the Kindle Fire doesn't offer much internal storage, any content purchased from Amazon may be stored online in cloud storage for free. There's no mention of Google services, so don't expect Google Maps or the Android Market to be built in.

For browsing the Web, the Kindle Fire uses a new browser called "Amazon Silk," which taps Amazon's cloud computing services to render pages faster. An e-mail app is also built-in, with support for multiple mail services in a single inbox.

Amazon says the Silk browser resides both on the Fire and on its own servers. For each page request, Silk divvies up the work between the tablet and the cloud. The result, according to Amazon, is faster page loads and lower latency.

The Kindle Fire costs $199, including a free month of Amazon Prime, and ships November 15. Amazon's taking pre-orders on its Website.

New Kindle E-Readers

Amazon is not abandoning its E-Ink readers with today's tablet announcement. Amazon also announced new Kindles along with the Kindle Fire tablet.

The Kindle Touch uses the same infrared touch system found in Barnes & Noble's Nook and Sony's touch screen e-readers. Amazon is touting what it calls the "EasyReach" system with this Kindle, which lets users tap a short horizontal strip along the top of the screen to call up the menu, a narrow vertical strip along the left side to go back one page, and the rest of the screen to go to the next page.

The Kindle Touch will cost $99 with Special Offers--a service that displays ads and deals on the device's home page--and $139 without them. A 3G model will cost $149. Amazon's taking pre-orders now, ahead of a November 21 ship date.

In addition to the touchscreen Kindle, Amazon will launch a non-touch Kindle with Special Offers for $79. This model drops the physical keyboard of previous Kindles in favor of a small set of buttons on the bottom bezel, along with the usual left and right bezel buttons for page turns. Amazon says this model is 30 percent lighter than previous Kindles. Without Special Offers, this Kindle costs $109. Both versions ship today.

Follow Jared on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.

Tags applicationsamazon.comAndroidhardware systemse-bookstablet PCGoogleapple ipadconsumer electronicskindlebrowserssmartphonessoftwaretablets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?