Amazon unveils gamechanging new products, including Kindle Fire tablet


Image Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

To a room full of journalists in midtown Manhattan today, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the new Amazon tablet Kindle Fire will ship Nov. 21. Priced at a relatively low $199, the new tablet could be the first product to seriously challenge Apple’s iPad. He also announced the Kindle Touch, smaller than the traditional Kindle and boasting infrared tapping capabilities, for $99 (3G costs $50 extra), and a new non-touch Kindle, priced at $79. “Let the fervor begin,” Bezos told the room.

Kindle Fire has a seven-inch screen (169 pixels-per-inch) and will feature free data storage in Amazon’s EC2 Cloud. Bezos stressed that the old model of having to backup files is a “broken system.” Moving forward, customers will be able to delete and re-download products at whim. Also a thing of the past, according to Bezos: manually syncing your devices with any kind of cord.

The popular WhisperSync capability from the Kindle e-reader — which saves your place in a book no matter what reading device you’re using — will now extend to movies and TV on Kindle Fire, saving your place in a movie whether you’re watching from the tablet or your living room TV. (Bezos demonstrated the functionality using X-Men: First Class. To show off simultaneous reading/listening capabilities, Bezos used The Help and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,”)

Web browsing for the tablet will be powered by the newly announced Amazon Silk, which promises faster, better Internet performance thanks to a “split browser” capability that combines data transfer from both the local device and the cloud.

While the announcements focused on new online capabilities, Bezos emphasized that physical sales for books are still increasing, and that the new technology will only enforce traditional sales.

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Read more:
Kindle Touch: A closer look at cool new features, and what it means for book lovers
Amazon rolls out Kindle library lending service
Barnes & Noble offer new, cheaper Nook
Kindle becomes Amazon’s best-selling product of all time


Comments (91 total) Add your comment
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  • Dan Daoust

    Do the new (non-Fire) Kindles replace the existing line, or are those models still available?

    • Dan Daoust

      Just answered my own question, and all I had to do was go to Does not replace; there are now six Kindle models total.

      • somet

        Yes, reading the article before posting a comment on it is very helpfull.

      • Mike

        Apparently not in this case since he said he went to to answer his question.

      • Greg

        The screen isn’t nearly big enough for my eye sight. It is like reading a book on my cell phone. No thanks.

  • redvector

    Somewhere a B&N executive just went…Oh Crap! This news knocks them out of the box on price for thier Nook ereaders.

    • Heather P

      I just took my pre-schooler to B&N this morning for story time. We asked the sales person if the nook color would come down in price. I’m guessing with Amazon pricing the Kindle Fire at $199 we’ll see a big drop in Nook prices.

      • Greg

        I asked B&N if they were ever going to resupply their sections with older books that were sold out and they laughed at me.

  • I’m old!

    I don’t care how many versions of Kindle they produce, I like BOOKS!

    • mari

      I like books too but I also own a Kindle.

      • Shannon

        I have a kindle and it is the best thing EVER! I read way more now and it’s super convenient to be away from home, finish a book and shop for another one right from my kindle. LOVE IT.

      • Jane

        Yup. I have lots of books & I have lots of ebooks. I LOVE my kindle!

      • Shannon

        It is like trying to read a book on a tiny little cell phone display.

      • Alicia

        Not quite. It’s like reading a regular book on a regular sized screen – not a cell phone. You could only read a few words per page if that were the case.

    • Diane

      Books are great, but Kindles are amazing when dealing with an hour long bus commute

      • Rob

        Oh, you poor thing!

      • J

        I have an hour-long commute via transit and my ink-on-paper book is just fine.

      • Alicia

        Books and kindles both work great on a long commute. But a kindle is handy if you finish that book and need something else to read to pass the time.

      • J

        In that case/if I know I’m near the end, I generally plan ahead with a second book. Because my aforementioned commute is to my job at an independent bookstore. Which I love. And I would really like to keep.

      • JA

        J maybe you have a strong back but for a 120 pound woman a second book is just too much weight to carry around on a 6 block walk from the train to an office.

      • J

        Agree to disagree, considering I alone will never stop the movement toward eBooks, however two paperbacks are hardly back-breaking. And I, too, walk everywhere. LIke I said before, I just want to keep my indie bookstore job. It breaks my heart and brings me to tears that my store might not exist someday.

      • Chris

        J, no one is taking your job. There will always be people who want books. But to extend the posts, she could have a copy of two books, two magazines, a brick and mortar store to order clothes, and a ticket broker in her bag…or a Kindle Fire.

    • Flyer

      I own a whole library of books, but thanks to the Kindle, I never have to worry about the weight of books whenever I fly anywhere. My purse/backpack is a LOT lighter as well!

      • Kaiulani

        Me too. I love my Kindle (which is a 2nd Generation) for when I travel. I am interesed in the new Kindle Touch. Will have to check it out.

      • Jane

        Yes. That is why I bought my kindle.

      • Jane

        Yes. That is why I bought my kindle.

    • Karate Pants

      eReaders are so great on the treadmill.

      • JA

        Yep. And when you are reading in bed curled up on your side. Or laying on your back in bed with the book just above you. I love paper books for some reads, but e-readers are way better for cetain things.

    • Poppy

      I resisted the Kindle for a while too. I love the tactile feel of a book in my hands, but when the price came down to $114 I bought one and LOVE it! However, I’m still waiting for library integration – now THAT would be good news!

      • Alicia

        Some libraries are now offering kindle e-books. Luckily mine is one of them.

      • Jane

        Yes- that was just announced.

    • Mandy

      I think people who are snobby about only reading “paper” books are the same type of people who only read a book to be SEEN reading that book LOL You can’t be a pretentious a$$ when no one knows what you’ve got queued up on the e-reader right?

      • Peet

        Yes, there’s nothing flashier or more ostentatious than reading a paper book, especially compared to using an e-reader. What an incredible dolt you are.

      • Gabi

        I agree Mandy. I’m in Brazil and I own a kindle and I love it. I’m saving a lot of space and I’m reading more.

      • Lyndsey

        I absolutely would rather have an actual book in my hands & I usually only read at home…so much for only doing it for show huh??!!!
        I’m glad I’ve waited so long to get a Kindle so that I can get the new Fire. I will still prefer my books but I can limit my buying to favorite authors that I’ll read multiple times & my history books for research. Should be a fun & handy little device to have!

    • Trent

      I love books too, and I actually find that I read more of them on my iPad than I did when I had to go to the bookstore to buy them. Not to mention that my overcrowded bookshelves finally catch a break. I read books, magazines and newspapers on my iPad and love it!

    • Amanda

      I love books, too. I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. I read at sixth grade level when I was in the first grade and college level when I was in the eighth grade. Holding books, especially the thicker paperbacks, made my hands ache after a while. I got my Kindle a bit too early (3 months before the prices dropped) but I love it. I only wish that there were more books available in electronic form.

    • candacetx

      um, they can co-exist.. cars didn’t make horses obsolete.

  • kate middleton

    Love my Nook, but definitely interested in the Kindle Fire tablet.

    Will it use 3G or just wireless?

    • Diane

      Just WiFi for the moment. I’m praying that they release a 3G version

      • baj24

        I don’t see that happening and if it does, it will cost extra. They aren’t going to have a “Free 3g” for a device that streams movies, music, etc.

      • kate middleton

        Yes, I would like them to offer 3G as well. But I agree with baj24 that they will undoubtedly charge for it.

      • Jane

        I’m just happy to be commenting after Kate Middleton. How do you do Duchess?

      • Diane

        I’d pay for 3G. It works much better when I’m commuting

  • Bud

    This goes against they whole marketing concept knocking the back lit screen like the iPad. I think someone blinked….

  • redvector

    I really don’t think this is meant to compete against the iPad. But it’s really going after B&N’s Nook Color. With the other models going after the Nook Easy Touch.

    • kate middleton

      Good point. Definitely does seem similar to the NookColor.

  • starr

    obviously the kindle fire is a back-lit screen…what about the kindle touch?

    • Alicia

      I think the Kindle touch is e-ink. I prefer the e-ink myself and will keep my kindle (maybe upgrade to the touch eventually). I am still interested in the Kindle Fire for movie streaming capabilities.

  • redvector

    I prefer e-ink too in fact since I got my kindle for my birthday last month I find it more comfortable to read than real ink books. I find I can read longer and my eyes don’t get as tired.

  • Pam

    I love my Kindle. I have quite a few friends who have been on the cusp of buying a Kindle and this is probably the incentive they need.

  • Andrea

    I have a Kindle (2nd Gen) and I adore it but I still buy a lot of “paper” books too. Not everything is in Kindle format, after all, and I’ve always loved the feel of a book in my hand.

    As for whether this will compete against the iPad, I don’t think so. It looks like a great entry-level type tablet (and at $200, I’m tempted) but the iPad is so entrenched it’d be like trying to get a years-long iPod user to try another mp3 player.

  • Mandy

    I know they say size doesn’t matter (ahem) but I have to say I much prefer the 9.7 inch iPad ~ especially for reading magazines. I fear the 7 inch is way too small for magazine type, even with making it bigger, you’d lose the aspect ratio of the mag. Yay, I’ll stick with everything mac ;)

  • Rolo Tomasi

    Kindle is great. Makes it so much easier to travel when you have limited storage space.

  • Jae

    I already pre-ordered mine. It was all I could go not to order one of the new e-ink versions as well to replace my current kindle. No buttons to push is a nice. But I am already an amazon Prime member and something that I can easily stream my movies on and listen to all the music I have bought from them withouut hassel and all my books sounds pretty sweet. And I checked, its a little lighter then the Nook color. Which has been my only gripe about it as a reader. I wish Amazon could have knowcked off another 2-3 ounces but I won’t complain much if this thing works as expected wrt streaming video.

    • Jae

      And just thinking, the device would really need to be 4g rather than 3g for good streaming. I don’t think they will offer free 4G streaming.

  • random guy

    I read elsewhere that the Kindle Fire will have access to Android apps. Does this mean that you can download the nook app and read your Barnes & Noble nookbooks on your Kindle Fire?

  • Jay

    I resisted the kindle for a while because I didn’t want a device that did just one thing and the ipad was just too expensive and couldn’t really serve as a replacement for my laptop. At the price of the Kindle Fire I think I may finally shell out for one. I love the feel of a paper book in my hand but It’ll make taking books on long trips a lot easier (and lighter) and I’ll also have other uses on it unlike the regular kindle.

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