Amazon Kindle Fire 2012 Lineup
One of a range of Kindle tablets announced by Amazon for release in the run-up to Christmas, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a 7" device running a heavily customised version of Android, integrated into Amazon's content services in the same way as any other Kindle device.
The Kindle Fire HD features a 7" 800 x 1280 pixel touchscreen display with some advanced screen technology to give a clearer image and wider viewing angles. Inside is a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 3D graphics processor, advanced stereo audio and 16GB or 32GB of internal flash memory.
This version of the Kindle fire measures 193 x 137 x 10.3mm and weighs 395 grams. The battery size is not known, but Amazon say that it can last for up to 11 hours of mixed use.
Usefully, the Kindle Fire HD has an HDMI port, so you can play back content download directly from Amazon. And because you can buy the Kindle Fire HD already pre-linked to your Amazon account then the only setting up you will need to do is connect it to your local WiFi network. On the subject of WiFi, the Kindle Fire HD has dual antennae which Amazon says is 40% faster than a standard tablet.
In addition, customers have access to a vast range of books, movies and music tracks, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD can browse the web, access email, make video calls with Skype and you can download more applications from Amazon's marketplace. And because kids love tablets, Amazon have also included parental controls to restrict access to various functions.
The Kindle Fire HD is heading to both US and European markets from October onwards. The 16GB version is priced at $199 in the US, £159 in the UK and €199 in Germany. The 32GB version is $249, £199 and €249 respectively. This version of the Kindle Fire HD will also be available in France, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
One step up from the 7" tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is a little smaller than the Apple iPad. This version of the Kindle Fire HD features an 8.9" 1200 x 1920 pixel full HD display with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 16, 32GB or 64GB of internal flash memory.
Initially shipping to the US only, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" will be available in a WiFi-only or 4G LTE version. With the 4G version, a single one-off payment of $49.99 gives access to a 12 month call plan with up to 250Mb of downloads bundled.
All the other features from the 7" version are available, including an HDMI port and parental controls. Basically, the 8.9" version is just bigger, a little faster and has the option of 4G.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is expected to ship in the US from November onwards. For the WiFi-only variant prices start at $299 for the 16GB version and $369 for the 32GB one. Adding 4G makes the device much more expensive, the 32GB version is $499 and there's a 64GB version for $599.. and on top of that you have to add at least $50 or so for the call plan.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" measures 240 x 164 x 8.8mm and weighs 567 grams, the 4G version is marginally heavier at 575 grams.
We don't know if the 8.9" version will come to Europe, and if it does then we wouldn't expect to see it before Christmas.
Officially just called the "new Kindle Fire", the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 is the second generation of the original Kindle Fire that captured 22% of the US tablet market (according to Amazon).
This version of the Kindle Fire comes with a 7" 600 x 1024 pixel display, and it's a much more basic panel overall that the HD version. It has 8GB of internal memory and an upgraded 1.2GHz processor plus 1GB of RAM. Amazon say that this version is 40% faster than the original.
The Kindle Fire 2 measures 189 x 120 x 11.5mm and weighs 400 grams. Amazon say that the battery is good for up to 9 hours of mixed use.
Despite not being as impressive as the HD version, the standard Kindle Fire is still going to be a very versatile device. In the US it will be priced at $159, it will be £129 in the UK and €159 in Germany when it hits retailers from October onwards. It will also be available in other European Amazon territories.
Overall, all these three tablets leverage Amazon's massive inventory of content and they will be very easy to use, which should appeal to many customers. However, you will need to have an Amazon operation in your country that is prepared to ship these devices, and they are about as far away from a standard Android tablet as you can get. However, overall we think that these devices will probably sell in huge numbers in the run-up to Christmas.