Kindle Fire Goes HD and Big
Unless you hid under a rock last week you know that Amazon unveiled the next generations of the Kindle Fire. The Kindle has become a necessity in many lives and, despite the popularity of tablets, continues to sell at a rapid pace. And the addition of the color screen, web browsing Fire a year ago gave Amazon an entirely different market and truly made Samsung and Apple stop and pay attention. Kindle made some smart moves with the new family of Kindle Fire that will continue to keep consumers and competitors on their toes.
Amazon announced 3 new versions of the Kindle Fire HD, in 2 sizes to suit a variety of preferences. The most visible difference (if the name did not give it away) is the HD resolution. All 3 also include faster processer, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, reduced glare, better viewing angle and enhanced audio– a good move considering the video uses – plus a front facing camera for video calls. The dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi means faster download speeds, over 40% faster than iPad 3 or Google Nexus, according to Amazon. Being a Kindle Fire owner I can attest to the gen 1 speed. I’m curious to see how much better it can get.
The 7” Fire HD includes a 1280×800 screen and ships this week at $199 for 16 GB and $249 for 32GB. If 7” isn’t enough consider the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” or 4G version. In addition to the upgrades listed above these big versions offer 1920×1200 resolution and HDMI out for moving the movies or TV to a bigger screen. The 8.9”, $299, and the 4G version, $499 (32GB) and $599 (64GB) through AT&T, ship in late November.
So is Fire HD the solution? With enhanced picture quality and sound, streaming of the Prime Instant videos will be an improvement on what was already a favorite feature. Processor speed will theoretically assist in navigating around the device – somewhat laborious on the gen 1. Early reports from press who tested units say that the lag is still there unfortunately. So we will see what consumers say when they hit the market. The other big consideration is how will the units compete with the Google Nexus 7, iPad and anticipated mini iPad. As a reading device or video streaming unit, I say very well. As a daily browsing and tablet device, we shall see.