first_imgAmazon has had an interesting year. The release of the Kindle FireBest Price at Amazon gave the whole tablet ecosystem reason to pause and see what was going on. Amazon didn’t make the most powerful tablet. Amazon didn’t have the most up to date OS or even the sexiest design out there. Amazon built an inexpensive vessel to enjoy the mountains of content that the company had been building up for the last few years. Today, Amazon has taken to the stage in order to announce the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and 8.9-inch.The updated 7-inch Kindle Fire is sporting a new processor, more ram, and a better battery inside of the same casing. The refreshed Kindle Fire will be $159 and will be shipping on September 14. This announcement really just felt like a formality, so that everyone was ready to handle what was clearly the main event.The Kindle Fire HD is a pair of tablets with identical hardware. Both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch tablets have a 1920 x 1200 resolution IPS display with a wide polarizing filter. The touch screen has zero gap to the actual display, creating a 254ppi display with less glare when used in direct light. Like the Kindle Fire, the HD has a wide bezel surrounding the device, which now also hides an HD front facing camera. Behind the screen there’s an OMAP 4 4470 processor, although Amazon didn’t mention the clock speed of this processor.With all of the hardware needed to deliver an HD experience, Amazon is also offering HD content. To go alongside the HD movie and gaming experience, the Kindle Fire HD has Dolby Digital Plus dual stereo speakers. Jeff Bezos focused hard on their implementation of WiFi on the device as well. The Kindle Fire HD will have a pair of dual band antennae, allowing the device a MIMO connection to either 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless connections. As it stands right now, no other tablet on the market can offer this combination, and Bezos made sure everyone knows about it.One critical feature that Amazon is adding to the Kindle Fire HD is the ability to have multiple profiles setup on a single device. You can quickly slip back and forth between the different profiles and access the content that is stored on those accounts. Since the device has a front facing camera, it only made sense to include video chat support. Amazon is including Skype support with the Kindle Fire HD to give users access to a video chat service that is already being used by millions.Jeff Bezos hit hard in his presentation, making it clear that the Kindle Fire was about delivering a service instead of a gadget. At multiple points during the presentation the iPad and the Nexus 7 were inferior to the new Kindle Fire HD ,and made sure he explained very clearly why that was. The Nexus 7 took a tougher beating than the iPad, no doubt because it was a device pretty clearly designed to compete with the original Kindle Fire.At $199 for the 7-inch model (16GB) and $299 for the 8.9-inch model (16GB), Amazon has firmly placed themselves as a competitive force in the tablet industry. Having already assumed more that 20% of the tablet marketshare in the US with the original Kindle Fire, it will be interesting to see where things go with this new wave of devices.And if you want to go premium, the 8.9-inch model will be available with 32GB of storage and LTE for $499. The LTE plan will be just $50 a year, with 250MB of data a month. That’ll make for the same price tag as the entry-level iPad, but with more storage and LTE. Plus Amazon’s WWAN is considerably cheaper than Apple’s.last_img read more