Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite release date, news and features

12th Oct 2012 | 10:48

Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite release date, news and features

Kindle Fire line specs, release date and more

Kindle Fire HD, new Kindle Fire and Kindle

Amazon announced a new line of tablets and ereaders during a press conference on September 6.

The first piece of hardware unveiled was the Kindle Paperwhite ereader. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed off the new Kindle Paperwhite during the conference boasting that it features 62 percent more pixels and has 25 percent more contrast than its predecessor.

The Kindle Paperwhite is priced at an affordable £109/$119 or £169/$179 for the 3G version. The basic Amazon Kindle now drops to £69/$69, while you can also get the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle DX.

Ice Cream Sandwich powering Kindle Fire HD family

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that all three Kindle Fire HDs will boast Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich.

There's as yet no word on whether a Jelly Bean update is coming down the pipes or what's under Kindle Paperwhite's hood.

Read more about the Kindle Fire HD family's OS

Amazon rolls out copious software updates

It wasn't all about the hardware at Amazon's Sept. 6 press event as CEO Jeff Bezos highlighted some pretty nifty features and updates coming to the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite.

New X-Ray capabilities for movies, textbooks and plain old books, Whispersync technology to help readers and gamers pick up where they left off, and new parental controls (in the for of FreeTime) are all part of the revamped Amazon attitude.

Read more about the features and updates of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD

The tablet that really got tongues wagging was the bigger, 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD - what most people call the Kindle Fire 2.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD has a 1920x1200 display, which also has 25 percent less glare.

Other features for the tablet include a front-facing HD camera, an OMAP 4 4470 processor, as well as two antennas which allow for better sound processing.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD model also has 16GB of storage - a big increase compared to 8 GB of storage in the original Kindle Fire.

However, there is a 32GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD option that comes with 4G LTE.

Amazon priced the 16GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD without the 4G LTE at $299. And the 32GB version with 4G LTE is $499.

Shipping is expected to start for the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD on Nov. 20.

Read more about the Amazon's announcement of the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD

Aside from the smaller screen size and smaller 1280 x 800 display, The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD offers much of the same features as its bigger, 8.9 inch version.

The 7-inch version has the same processor, front-facing camera, blue tooth connectivity and more.

For a few inches less, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD costs - $199 - $100 dollars less than the 8.9-inch tablet.

Hands on: Amazon Kindle Fire HD review

The updated 7-inch Kindle Fire

Bezos also brandished the new 7-inch Kindle Fire. This update to last year's model will still have the 7-inch display, but will house a faster processor with twice as much RAM.

What's more, the new Kindle Fire will have more battery life.

Amazon is cutting the price for their updated Kindle Fire to $159, and shipments will also start on Sept. 14.

Read our Kindle Fire review

Introducing Kindle Serials

"A blast from the literary past," Amazon's new Kindle Serials feature allows authors to publish their books in installments. Customers pay for novels upfront and receive chapters at a time.

They can even give feedback to the writers while enjoying a style of reading from days of yore. Authors can self-publish their books as a part of the Kindle Direct Publishing initiative.

Read more about the installment-based books

Below are the rumors that TechRadar reported on before the Sept. 6 announcement.

Older Amazon Kindle Fire 2 rumours

Here's our round up of previous Kindle Fire 2 rumours.

We've been rounding up all the rumoured Kindle Fire 2 specs, release date and more and put together this little piece to share them all with you ahead of today's Amazon launch event.

Kindle Fire 2 release date

The Kindle Fire 2 is set to land in spring 2012, according to DigiTimes, which reported that Quanta Computer has already been given the order to start producing the new device.

On March 26, rumours emerged that Taiwanese chassis manufacturer Catcher had received an order from Amazon for a new tablet.

According to China Times, the first batch of tablets, estimated at 2 million units, could have started shipping on August 7. Now we know that's closer to September or later in the year.

The just-outside Los Angeles soiree could be for any number of things, but industry insiders anticipate a big announcement to echo through the hangar's halls.

More fuel was added to the Kindle Fire 2 release date flames with the announcement on Aug. 30 that the original Kindle Fire has sold out. When Amazon made this announcement it added that it had "an exciting roadmap ahead", adding "we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem."

On the same day, a purported spy shot of the Kindle Fire 2 leaked, showing an all black device and not much else.

Kindle Fire 2 price

Rumours suggest the new Kindle Fire will be priced at the same level as the current Kindle Fire, $199 (converted this is around £130). Some reports suggest the 10.1-inch 'HD' Kindle Fire could mean the older model drops to $149.

The Kindle Fire 2 screen will be bigger

The Telegraph - and many others - predicts a Kindle Fire 2 vs new iPad summertime tablet fight-fest based entirely on a single post by the not-always-that-accurate DigiTimes, which says that the Kindle Fire 2 will have an 8.9-inch touch screen and will begin manufacturing in the first quarter of 2012.

That may well be true, but Digitimes also reports that the Kindle Fire 2 screen will be 9.7 inches, or maybe 10.1 inches. Perhaps the Kindle Fire 2 is made from potatoes and powered by clockwork elves.

Further rumours in early March and again in June 2012 suggested that the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 will land in both 8.9-inch and 10-inch flavours.

An analyst writing in February predicted a 9-inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, as well as a refreshed 7-inch model by the middle of 2012.

Chad Bartley of Pacific Crest has increased his Kindle Fire 2012 sales estimate from 12 million units to 14.9 miilion units, partly due to the expected new models.

"We are raising our 2012 sales forecasts to 14.9 million from 12.7 million," he wrote in a note to investors.

"But we believe there is an upward bias, particularly from the new 7 and 9-inch models, which we expect to launch in mid-2012."

New rumours in March also pointed towards three different Kindle Fire 2 variants. However, China Times claimed in early July that the Kindle Fire 2 will pack a 7-inch display.

UPDATE: On Sept. 5, with just a day to go before the Kindle 2 launch, Amazon teased the new tablet in a TV ad. The ad revealed "something new", which looks to be a 10-inch model of the Kindle Fire and another Kindle.

Kindle Fire 2

The Kindle Fire 2 processor is a quad-core Tegra

That's what Boy Genius Report predicted back in May, anyway: Amazon was "planning on releasing at least two before the end of the year. The smaller 7-inch model could well be based on Nvidia's Kai tablet strategy, which will see $199 Tegra tablets become the norm.

The bigger 10.1-inch Kindle Fire 2 is reportedly codenamed 'Hollywood' and will be based on the Nvidia Tegra 3 which will bring a screaming quad-core processor with a 500% performance increase".

That would come in handy, as some reviews have pointed out that the current Fire is a bit slow, but if it's coming there's no way you're getting it for $200. Amazon may be losing money on every Kindle Fire, but there's losing money and there's losing enormous amounts of money.

The Kindle Fire 2 is the real Kindle Fire

Speaking to Gdgt, a "source" claimed that the Kindle Fire 2 is the tablet Amazon really wanted to make, but couldn't get out in time for the pre-Christmas shopping period. In June it was revealed the Amazon Appstore is also going international in preparation.

The Kindle Fire 2 operating system is Android, sort of

As with the first Fire, the Kindle Fire 2 should run Amazon's own fork of Android, which adds a nifty interface to Google's OS. Expect integration with the Amazon app store and services rather than Android market and Google books.

An early March source also claimed that Amazon has reduced its E Ink orders (the fancy screen technology found on Kindle e-readers).

The Kindle Fire 2 display won't be a hybrid

A hybrid e-ink/LCD screen is one for our Kindle Fire 2 wish list, although we don't expect to see it on the next Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire 2 specifications might include some missing features

There are some obvious omissions from the current Kindle Fire - GPS, a microphone, cameras - but we're not sure the Kindle Fire 2 needs them: if it wants to be an iPad rival then yes, such things are important, but they're not necessarily deal-breakers for sofa surfing.

Both new Kindle Fire tablets will reportedly be of higher-quality materials and more ergonomic designs.

A BGR source also says that Amazon's new Kindle Fire 2 tablets will be thinner and more similar in appearance to the first-generation Apple iPad, but without any buttons on the front.

In addition, the 10-inch Kindle Fire will house a front-facing camera, and both new tablets will include microUSB ports and, possibly, HDMI-out jacks, says the report.

Software-wise, news broke on Aug. 31 that Amazon is planning to go with Nokia's mapping service instead of Google's on the new Kindle. But that could be a short-lived affair: the same report says that Amazon is only siding with Nokia until it unveils its own in-house solution, which it's believed to have been working on since it purchased 3D mappers UpNext in July.

The Kindle Fire 2 name might not be Kindle Fire 2

If a launch is imminent, Amazon won't want to annoy existing Kindle Fire customers by suggesting their shiny new tablet is already obsolete. It'll be called something different, such as Kindle Burny. OK, probably not Burny.

Kindle Fire phone

Will there be a Kindle Fire phone? Some reports have claimed that Amazon is currently developing a smartphone in the hope of replicating the success of the Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire HD Amazon Paperwhite Kindle
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