If you're a tech junky like us, you woke up early this morning to catch the Amazon announcement of the addition to its kindle line. But if you missed it, no worries, we've got it all covered right here on Unplggd, with some reaction and personal opinion thrown in. If you just want to get to the good stuff, we have a handy chart below the jump pitting the Kindle Fire tablet against its competitors, including the iPad 2!
Amazon's new additions to its popular Kindle line can be broken down to three different categories, the Kindle, the Kindle Touch, and the Kindle Fire, with prices ranging from $79 to $199. Looking at the new Kindle's features and price ranges, you can tell that Amazon has not abandoned its simple, easy-to-use eReader, while added to their existing line to attract the tech junkies. Basically they have something for everyone. We'll start off easy with the Kindle Classic and work our way up to the king of the Kindles, the Kindle Fire.
Kindle. Amazon really simplified the Kindle design with this new model simply dubbed "Kindle." Unlike the previous model (now called "Kindle Keyboard") the new Kindle ditched the external keyboard, and reduced its size and weight for mobility and longer reading time. There is a virtual software keyboard built-in that is controlled by the trackpad for making short notes. In terms of connectivity it will come with WiFi, but no 3G. It looks like this will be the first new Kindle that's available right away.
What we think about it: We love that Amazon made this model to lower their price point and cost of entry. We can tell Amazon intend to focus on the true readers amongst us when designing this eReader. We believe this is the eReader for focused readers, those who just want a device that is simple and out of their way, without all the bells and whistles.
Kindle Touch. This is the answer to Barnes & Noble's Nook, and what a statement. Coming in at 6 inches and 7.5 grams, it matches the spec of the Nook. It comes with a Wifi as well as a 3G version, provided free as part of the purchase. The final trump card for Kindle is the $99 price tag for the Wifi version (with Amazon "Special Offers" AKA ads) which comes in well below the Nook's $139 version. The 3G version starts at $149, which is only $10 more than the Nook Wifi.
What we think about it: These will be one of Kindle's more popular models, improving on the last generation Kindle with the addition of a touchscreen while keeping the minimal multimedia features (did you know you could listen to music on your Kindle?). We also love how Amazon is sticking with e-ink and not abandoning the audience that made Kindle popular in the first place. What we love most is the price, at these prices more people would be able to afford an e-reader without sacrificing on features.
Kindle Fire. This is the main event at the Amazon announcement, Amazon's entry into the tablet world. The Fire is a 7inch tablet rocking a heavily skinned version of Android 2.3, and coming in at $199 it is definitely targeted at the budget-friendly crowd, more specifically the Nook Color crowd. Even though the price is cheap, Amazon did not skimp out on the internals. The Fire has a dual-core processor at heart, a first for a budget tablet, and the IPS display means better viewing angles. Now, Amazon is not exactly positioning this product as an e-reader, but an integration of all the services they already provide, including Amazon Instant Video, their Cloud Player, as well as their own Android Appstore. Without having to plug into your computer for syncing, this is undeniably the multimedia device that Apple has in mind for the iCloud. Lets see how it fares against its competitor, the Nook Color, and the industry leader, the iPad 2.
What we think about it: We believe that Amazon's patience in entering the tablet market is shown in the Kindle Fire. Amazon surveyed the tablet market and found the perfect place to position their product as well as building all the infrastructures in advance to support it. For those knee deep in Amazon services, including those with Amazon Prime membership, this is absolutely the budget tablet for you. If the $99 HP Touchpad is the tech deal of the year, the Kindle Fire is a very close second. You really can't go wrong dropping $199 on a feature-rich tablet packed with the latest technology.
With the trio of new Kindles, we think Amazon's got three winners here. With their focus on "work hard to charge customer less", we believe that Amazon's taking a big step forward in the game and focus on the majority instead of top of the market (those that are already taken by Apple). We also love the move into an even lower price range, making the low end of the Kindle a great compliment to our full feature tablets. We just can't wait to get our hands one of these!
What do YOU think about the new Kindles? Let us know in the comments below!