Amazon's Kindle Fire goes HD

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Amazon is showcasing its next-gen Kindle Fire tablet lineup at an event in Santa Monica, California.

The Kindle Fire HD boasts an 8.9-inch, 1920 x 1200 display (or 254 ppi) and is powered by an OMAP 4470 processor from Texas Instruments (TI). It also features stereo speakers, a dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz (WiFi) receiver and 16GB of storage space.

Additional specs include a polarizing filter to help reduce glare, along with a laminated touch sensor that offers improved sharpness and contrast.

Pricing? You can pick up the 8.9-inch HD tablet for $299. A 4G LTE version with 32GB of storage will cost you $499 - and $50 a year for 250MB monthly. Pre-orders start now, with shipping kicking off on September 20th.

A 7-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD will be available for $199 on September 14th.  The smaller iteration features the same internal specs as its 8.9-inch counterpart, including dual-anntena 5GHz WiFi, stereo speakers, OMAP TI 4470 processor HDMI,  Bluetooth connectivity, a front-facing HD webcam for Skype and 16GB of storage.

Of course, there is also the upgraded (non-HD)  7-inch Kindle Fire  - which is loaded with a new processor and 1GB of RAM - offering a sweet 44% performance boost over its first-gen predecessor.  The 7-inch tablet, which also boasts longer battery life, ships on September 14th at a $159 price point.  

And last, but certainly not least, Amazon also debuted the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader with a front-lit LCD display, capacitive touchscreen, eight week battery life and no physical controls.

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Paperwhite offers 25 percent more contrast than the Pearl screens (and 62% more pixels) powering current-gen Kindles with a resolution of 212ppi. 

The WiFi version of Paperwhite sells for $119, with the 3G iteration priced at a cool $179. 

On the software side, Amazon announced a series of OS tweaks, including support for multiple accounts and redesigned parental controls.  Immersion Reading offers Kindle Fire HD-specific e-reader features, while a revamped X-Ray (content companion feature) can be accessed in real-time when reading a book or watching a movie.