Amazon's September 6th launch event is underway and we're tracking all the new announcements from the Kindle maker. First up is the brand new Kindle paperwhite ebook reader, which comes with much improved pixel density, better contrast, and a $119 price. The cost rises to $179 if you want the 3G version, with both available to order today and shipping on October 1st. The entry level price for owning a Kindle has been lowered to $69, with deliveries beginning on September 14th.The updated 7-inch Kindle Fire features a faster processor and twice the RAM for just $159; orders begin today and it will ship September 14th. Amazon's also going big with the Kindle Fire HD family that will come in three variants: a 7-inch tablet that will retail starting at $199, an 8.9-inch version for $299, and an LTE-equipped version that will start at $499.
Nov 21, 2012
In September, inside an airplane hangar in Los Angeles, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a series of bold statements about the company's two brand-new Kindle Fire HD tablets. The Kindle Fire HD 7, he said, was the best tablet at a certain price. But with the larger Kindle Fire HD 8.9, "we made the best tablet at any price," Bezos said, in a not-so-subtle jab at the iPad.Read Article >
When we reviewed the smaller of the two Kindle Fire HD siblings, we found it to be a mixed bag. As a platform, a service, an appliance — a window into everything Amazon is and offers — it's a phenomenal success. But as a tablet overall, compared to the iPad and Nexus 7, it faltered thanks to some performance issues, lacking app selection, and a few absent features.
Sep 12, 2012
To put a review of the Kindle Fire HD in perspective, you have to peer just a tiny bit into the past. It was barely a week ago that the world watched Amazon begin a magical transformation from that of a humble multinational that retails every product ever made in the world, to that of a consumer electronics powerhouse that wants to bring the fight to Apple on the tablet front. During its event last Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos was focused on not just the new products, but about what they mean to Amazon and its customers. These aren't just tablets — they are portals to all the company is, whether it's the cloud services on the backend, retail tie-ins up front, or that new part of Amazon: the one that makes high-end consumer hardware.Read Article >
The original Kindle Fire felt like an experiment, a 'can we do this?' moment for Amazon. The new, $199 Fire HD feels like something very different. A product with an attitude, a directive, a plan. And that plan seems to be something like this: hit them on price, hit them on ecosystem, and hit them where it hurts the most — product design. Amazon also wants to hit them where only Amazon can: retail. But are the hits going to keep coming, or is the new Fire HD a swing and a miss? Find out in the full review below.
Sep 12, 2012
Last week, Amazon unveiled the Kindle Fire HD, a shopping portal cleverly disguised as an Android tablet, and one partially subsidized by advertising. You'll find ads on the lockscreen you have to bypass in order to start using the machine, and "recommendations" to accompany the multimedia you watch, hear, and read. In fact, there are ads almost everywhere — and Amazon might be well on its way to building the ultimate ad. An ad that was only a dream in the late 90s. A dream about Jennifer Aniston's sweater.Read Article >
The key is Amazon's new X-Ray for Movies feature, which does something pretty neat: It consults the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to give you a list of actors in any scene, and can show you other movies they've appeared in, which you can bookmark for later viewing. Did you know The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence also braved the wilderness in Winter's Bone? That's the kind of connection that Jeff Bezos is presently selling.
Sep 7, 2012
Since Amazon announced its new line of Kindle Fire tablets, there's been confusion over whether the company would allow users to avoid seeing "Special Offer" promotions on their lock screens. According to CNET, an Amazon spokesperson has now confirmed that there is no system for disabling ads on new models of the Kindle Fire. That means that unlike the cheaper Kindle e-reader, users can't spend more up front for an ad-free version or pay to disable the ads after purchase. The statement also refutes a previous Engadget report, including an email apparently from Amazon's support team saying that users would be given options for "unsubscribing" from Special Offers.Read Article >
At present, it appears that everything in the Kindle Fire family — including the $499 8.9-inch model with LTE — will include Special Offers. We've reached out to Amazon, and we'll update with any confirmation. Meanwhile, it's not much of a surprise if the company's support team is still codifying policies. When we contacted support, we were given conflicting information about whether it was possible to opt out of ads.
Sep 7, 2012Read Article >
Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD comes with a pretty massive software update — and one of the new features that Ubergizmo noticed in its hands-on is that Microsoft Bing is set as the default search engine in the Fire HD's Silk browser. This comes despite the fact that Google's Android 4.0 software provides the underpinnings for the Fire HD, though of course it's heavily skinned. This represents a change from last year, when Google served as the default search engine. Unfortunately, it's not clear yet if you can switch the default search engine, but as nearly every other browser in the world contains that option, we'd expect it'll be present on the Kindle Fire HD.
Sep 7, 2012
Amid all the excitement about its new Kindle Fire HD devices yesterday, one thing Amazon failed to mention is the new version of its Silk browser installed on the tablets. There are a number of meaningful improvements in the update, like better support for HTML5 web standards and an improved UI, but the biggest difference is speed — "at least a 30 percent reduction in page load latency," according to the company.Read Article >
Silk is a so-called "split" browser, using Amazon’s servers to compress and simplify websites before they’re served to the user. While it speeds up the browsing experience, it also means Amazon can see anonymized data about the pages its users are accessing. As pointed out by TechCrunch, the updated version of Silk adds a Trending Now section in blank tabs, showing which pages are currently the most popular with its users. It doesn’t mark a material change in how the company treats user data — when the original version of Silk was launched Amazon said it "observes user behavior acrosss a large number of sites," but being reminded of that fact every time you open a new tab isn’t exactly comforting. And for whether or not owners of the original Fire will be getting the update, the jury’s still out — so far the company says it isn’t commenting on future software plans.
Sep 7, 2012
These features were once differentiators for Amazon in the e-reader space, but now that they're gone how does the Kindle Paperwhite compare with the competition? Since none of the leaders — the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, Sony Reader PRS-T2, or Kobo Mini — have audio features, the Kindle now has one less selling point. Still, Amazon looks like it's won again when it comes to the most important features: screen and ecosystem. At this point in the e-reader war hardware is fairly standard across the board — all now have 2GB of storage (though only the Kindle and Kobo Mini aren't expandable), and processors, dimensions, and build quality don't separate these devices.Read Article >
While it's not clear why Amazon has seen fit to remove audio features that made its e-reader stand out — perhaps it's looking to push multimedia users to the Kindle Fire family — there's no reason to believe this loss will alter Amazon's position in the e-reader space. That's no consolation to those who have heavily invested into Audible audiobooks, but ultimately, the features Amazon has added seem more important than the ones it has removed.
Sep 7, 2012
The key moment in Jeff Bezos's keynote announcing Amazon's new Paperwhite Kindle and Kindle Fire models came before he introduced any of the new hardware. "People don't want gadgets any more," Bezos declared, explaining why the Kindle Fire had succeeded where other gadgety Android tablets had failed. "They want services that improve over time. They want services that improve every day, every week, and every month." This statement of purpose signals a new phase in Amazon's evolution as a company, and its singular, emerging take on the developing consumer marketplace, and how it's positioning itself towards its broad field of competitors.Read Article >
"The Kindle Fire," he added, "is a service. It offers 22 million items. It calls you by name. It makes recommendations for you." Bezos was talking about the Kindle Fire as if it were Amazon itself: the entire retail and technological experience made manifest in a single device. The future of Amazon, he seemed to be saying, isn't the website; it's this material portal, and others like it.
Sep 7, 2012Read Article >
At the Kindle event in Los Angeles today, Amazon unveiled a lineup of new e-readers and tablets, including the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Fire HD, and more. In case you missed the price drop for the original Kindle, a refresh of the Kindle Fire's OS, the debut of Whispersync, watch the entire presentation in the video below.
Sep 6, 2012
This is my next is a special feature where writers of The Verge sound off on their latest deep, dark desires from the world of technology.Read Article >
I’m writing this before the product has officially been announced, and in the 8th month of a self-imposed, year-long "I’m not buying any gadgets or electronics" fast, but I’m confident enough to say it right now: the next thing I buy will be a Kindle Paperwhite. I knew it when we first started seeing the leaked photos the other day, when I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at. Is this thing backlit? Oh my god.
Sep 6, 2012
Amazon rolled out a new line of Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers today, and unsurprisingly, the older members of the Kindle family have been pushed to the wayside. Amazon's aging 9.7-inch e-reader, the Kindle DX, is one of the models being phased out, and the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G have apparently been replaced wholesale by the new Paperwhite models.Read Article >
With regards to the Kindle DX, Amazon vice president Jay Marine said "we are pretty much done with it," though he wanted to stress that the Kindle DX is not being abandoned. What that means exactly is unclear, but Marine did note that there may be a few more DX's manufactured and it'll continue to be sold online before it completely falls off of the face of the earth. For now, it is still possible to place an order for the DX (at the gut-wrenching price of $379) from Amazon.com, though the device is not highlighted with the rest of the Kindle lineup.
Sep 6, 2012
The Kindle Fire and Fire HD 7 are both coming to the UK on October 25th. Both tablets are currently up for preorder on the site, with the Kindle Fire priced at £129 and the Fire HD 7 coming in at £159 for 16GB and £199 for 32GB. Unlike their US counterparts, UK versions of the Fire will not include any of the Amazon Prime benefits such as Amazon's Instant Video service. Instead, customers will receive a one-month free trial of LoveFilm. Other than the differences between Amazon services, the UK Fire tablets seem to be exactly the same.Read Article >
Although Amazon has updated its site to include the new tablets, there's no sign of a preorder page for the new Kindle Paperwhite. The new tablets have also been spotted around Europe; a number of countries, including France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, all have a letter from Jeff Bezos on the front page of their Amazon sites extolling the virtues of his new tablets. European pricing on the tablets starts at €159 for the standard Fire and €199 for the 16GB Fire HD 7.
Sep 6, 2012
Amazon's new lineup of tablets don't just differ from the original Kindle Fire in their hardware. Like last year's cheapest Kindle e-reader, all three new models — that's the Fire, the HD 7, and the HD 8.9 — will display Amazon's "Special Offers" promotions and advertisements on their lock screens. Unlike the low-end Kindle, however, Amazon isn't offering the devices in more expensive, ad-free models, nor is it making mention of any way to opt out for a fee.Read Article >
Considering the aggressive pricing of the new Fires we imagine many people won't mind, especially as the offers include deals such as a $5 credit for Amazon's movie and music services. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with paying for devices that advertise at you, on the other hand, so it's notable that Amazon doesn't seem to be giving customers the option.
Sep 6, 2012
Amazon stepped up its presence in the tablet market today with the introduction of Kindle Fire HD, an 8.9-inch tablet squarely aimed at high-end competition from Apple, Samsung, and other manufacturers. CEO Jeff Bezos touted a number of the device's features on stage, such as its 1920x1200 display. That translates to a pixel density of 254ppi, which nearly matches Apple's class-leading Retina display on the new iPad. That resolution is also good enough to surpass many other other recent entrants in the tablet space, including the Galaxy Note 10.1, Asus' Transformer Pad, and the upcoming Microsoft Surface with Windows RT.Read Article >
In terms of processing power, Bezos claims the TI OMAP4470 utilized by the Kindle Fire HD outperforms Nvidia's Tegra 3 chipset, which has proven to be a favorite among companies producing Android hardware. We'll obviously have a better sense of how accurate that is once the Fire HD is available and can be placed head-to-head against its rivals. What about other hardware? Amazon has chosen to load the device with 1GB of RAM, which matches the iPad but not the plentiful two gigs of memory offered by the Galaxy Note 10.1. Even so, the included allotment should be sufficient for most everyone buying the tablet.
Sep 6, 2012
We're here at Amazon's event in Los Angeles, where the company just announced the newest version of its wildly popular Kindle ebook reader. There are a number of new features in the new Kindle, but two stand out: a new "paperwhite" display technology with a new backlight on the device itself.Read Article >
Much of the new Kindle's build is like that of old versions — it's small, light, thin, and sturdy, though without a single button anywhere it's even sleeker than old models. The real hook, obviously, is the paperwhite display, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said is so good that people won't want to turn it off. It does look great, noticeably sharper and crisper than older models. The backlight is also a nice touch, and it's more evenly distributed than on a device like the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.
Sep 6, 2012
Amazon announced a number of updates to its Kindle line-up today, but some of the most compelling additions were elements of the Kindle Fire operating system itself. Amazon detailed a number of new additions aimed at enhancing the experience for device owners including Kindle FreeTime, X-Ray support for movies and textbooks, and an updated email client.Read Article >
Kindle X-Ray is a discovery service for various pieces of content in Amazon's ecosystem that was first announced last year for books, but Amazon is adding two more types of content: movies and textbooks. When watching a movie, users can activate X-Ray, which will then provide a list of actors in a given title (Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games was the example shown off by Amazon's Jeff Bezos). From there users can see what other movies that actor has starred in — results are powered by IMDb — and add other pieces of content to their queue for viewing later. X-Ray was also shown off for textbooks; different words and phrases can be triggered to activate a live, web-based glossary for further exploration.
Turns out Amazon does care a thing or two about hardware design. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is a thin-and-light thing of beauty with a very nice back for gripping. The UI is markedly improved — although the carousel is still there, we're seeing none of that stuttering from before. (Helps to have a new, faster OMAP 4470 processor.) Aesthetically, though, there aren't any drastic changes with the OS — it's just smoother.Read Article >
There is a bunch of new software on the device, though. X-Ray and Whispersync were two of the buzzwords of the day, and both have much-expanded value on the Fire HD. X-Ray for video lets you see who's in a particular scene of a movie, see what else they've been in, and add their other movies to your Watchlist on Amazon. Whispersync for audio lets you synchronize a book and an audiobook, so you can listen while you walk and then pick up right where you left off to read. Admittedly we've only spent a few minutes with the device, but everything we tried was fast, smooth, and even simple to use. Even the Kindle FreeTime feature, which gives you ultra-granular control over what your kids can do on the tablet, is pretty clever.
To go along with the just-announced Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE connectivity, Amazon announced a new data plan — for $49.99 a year, users will get 250MB per month of data, plus 20GB of cloud storage and a $10 Amazon app store credit. That's not a huge amount of data, but the plan is significantly cheaper than similar options from wireless carriers (and what you can get for Apple's iPad). Right now, 250MB / month plans for the iPad cost $15 per month, and Bezos touted that advantage on stage. When comparing both the costs of the devices as well as the LTE data plan, Amazon makes a pretty compelling case for its new flagship tablet. While Amazon didn't mention a specific carrier, the 4G LTE logo it showed off on screen is unmistakably AT&T's — our bet is on the company providing Amazon's LTE service.Read Article >
Update: The press release confirms AT&T and also clarifies that the $49.99 data plan applies to the "first year" of ownership, after which time Fire HD owners will presumably have to sign up for a standard plan.
Amazon has just outed another Kindle — the Kindle Fire HD 7. The new tablet is essentially a smaller version of the just-announced Kindle Fire HD 8.9, but with a 1280 x 800 7-inch IPS screen instead of a 1920 x 1200 8.9-inch display. Other than the different display size, the Android-based tablet features the same dual-anntena 5GHz Wi-Fi, stereo speakers, OMAP 4470 processor from Texas Instruments, HDMI, and Bluetooth connectivity as the 8.9-inch Fire HD. The device will also have a HD webcam for Skype and 16GB of storage, just like its larger brother. Amazon's estimating that the 10.3mm-thick tablet will be able to eke out 11 hours of battery life. What's the price difference for losing that 1.9 inches of extra diagonal screen real estate? $100. Amazon announced that the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch is available for pre-order now, and will ship on September 14th for $199.Read Article >
There will also be an option of a 32GB version of the Kindle Fire HD 7, which will cost $249 and will be available on October 25th.. Unfortunately, Amazon has decided that every new Kindle Fire — the HD 7, HD 8.9, and updated standard definition Fire — will include special offers. These will be on the device's lock screen, and from what we're hearing right now there will be no way to opt out.
Sep 6, 2012Read Article >
At this morning's Amazon Kindle event, CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company is adding audiobooks with Whispersync for Voice to its Kindle Fire tablets, letting you keep a single bookmark across text and audio versions of the same book. In the same vein, Amazon is enabling a new feature called Immersion Reading, which it describes as a fusion of Kindle and audio versions of the same book — letting you follow along in print while you listen to a professional narrator read for you. Real-time highlighting of what's being spoken (pictured below) makes sure you never lose your place, so you don't have to worry about momentarily taking your eyes off the screen. Amazon says that so-called bimodal reading improves retention and understanding for pretty much everyone, so there's no reason to feel like reading along with a narrator makes you look like a second-grader.
Amazon's going over a variety of new software enhancements for the Kindle Fire HD, and one of those new features is Whispersync for Games. The company says it'll keep you from ever having to start over, and it stores any levels you've unlocked. It sounds like that this is for syncing gameplay across multiple Kindle Fire devices — though we're not sure how many people out there are playing the same game across multiple devices.Read Article >
There's also a new Game Center-esque leaderboard, showing your social rank, achievements, and overall progress through the title. It's not entirely clear how social rank is determined, but we're not surprised to see Amazon try and make games a more social experience.
Sep 6, 2012
After making an informal debut in a televised ad late last night, Amazon's larger Kindle Fire has finally been unveiled. Introduced today at a press event in Los Angeles, the new Kindle Fire HD features an 8.9-inch 1920 x 1200, 254ppi display. It includes an HD front-facing camera, HDMI output, Bluetooth connectivity, and a laminated touch sensor for better visuals and 25-percent less glare. Under the hood, Amazon has dropped in a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which it says outperforms the Tegra 3. Company representatives confirmed to us that the tablet is also built atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich — though they wouldn't specify which precise version.Read Article >
The Kindle Fire HD also includes stereo speakers, an upgrade over the Kindle Fire's mono driver. While the company is also offering a 4G LTE variation, Amazon has improved Wi-Fi networking by adding a dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz receiver, two antennas, MIMO radio technology. The Wi-Fi-only models will come in 16GB and 32GB variations, while the 4G LTE will be available with 32GB or 64GB of storage.