Kobo unveiled its hand earlier this week, and now its biggest competitor, Amazon, is doing the same, updating the Kindle range with several new Kindle units, though only one will come to Australia for the moment.
The new eBook readers from the world’s largest online book supplier have been designed to not only improve the quality of electronic books, but also take the tablet fight to Apple and Google.
As such, two of the new Kindles are based on the Kindle Fire Android tablet that Amazon introduced last year, with upgrades designed to not only let people read books and listen to music, but stream movies and video content from Amazon’s website.
The Kindle Fire HD upgrades the original Kindle Fire’s 7 inch Android tablet by adding more than just two-point touch with ten points for all fingers, and throwing in a better 720p 7 inch screen (up from a very low 1024×600), new dual-core processor, better battery life, and a dual-band dual-antenna wireless connection which should improve wireless speeds dramatically.
Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is – unsurprisingly – an 8.9 inch version of the Kindle Fire with a dual-core processor, the dual-band dual-antenna WiFi chip, ten-point touch, and a 1080p 1920×1200 screen in an 8.9 inch size, a feature that no other 8.9 inch tablet has matched and offers 254 pixels per inch, insanely close to the 263ppi on the new iPad.
Both models of the Kindle Fire run on Google’s Android operating system, but both rely heavily on an American credit card, with access to movies, TV shows, music, and more that can be purchased and streamed from Amazon account holders in America. As such, neither of the Kindle Fire models will be available for purchase in Australia – yet – even though the prices are pretty good, with $199 for the 16GB 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and a starting price of $299 for the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD.
Over on the eBook device front, at least in the “traditional” sense of what these gadgets are, Amazon is introducing its own front-lit Kindle, similar to what Kobo introduced earlier this week.
The Kindle Paperwhite is a reader running with an electronic ink screen that is front lit and features better resolution, eight-week battery life, stronger contrast, and a front lighting system that allows you to read books in any lighting condition, day or night.
Like the Kindle Touch, there are no buttons here, with a capacitive touchscreen allowing you to swipe to turn the page in a body that’s not much bigger than a traditional paperback. This model will have two versions available, with a $119 version showing “special offers” or ads on the lock screen, while the $139 variant will do away with this.
Once again, though, this reader won’t be available in Australia, with Amazon not allowing this to be shipped outside of America, at least not yet.
Only one Kindle eReader has been announced for availability in Australia, and that’s an update to the button-based kindle, now 170 grams and featuring a bit of a speed boost for the e-ink reader that practically put eBooks on the map.
The WiFi 6 inch Kindle will come in at $89 in Australia and can be purchased directly from Amazon, allowing customers keen for an inexpensive eBook experience to skip retail and save a few quid.