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Amazon Announces $199 Kindle Fire Tablet, $149 Kindle touch 3G, $99 Kindle touch and $79 Kindle

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Amazon today unveiled its long-rumored tablet: the Kindle Fire. Based on Android, but with a custom-designed user interface, the Kindle tablet will cost $199 and go on sale on November 15. It’s available for pre-order now. The company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also announced a new version of the Kindle eReader: the Kindle Touch. This device uses the same E-Ink display as the regular Kindle, but uses some basic multi-touch capabilities instead of the regular Kindle’s keyboard and buttons.  Pricing for the Kindle touch will start at $99 with support for Amazon’s Special Offers. If you don’t want to see Amazon’s ads on the device, you will have to pay $139. The version with support for 3G will set you back $149 with Special Offers and $189 without. Finally, Amazon is also launching a very basic Kindle model without touch or keyboard for $79 with special offers and $109 without.

As far as we can see, the current Kindle models with keyboard will remain on the market for the time being.

Kindle Fire

kindle_fireAmazon’s tablet doesn’t quite rival the iPad in terms of basic features. There is no 3G, no camera and no microphone, for example. It does, however, come with a 7” multi-touch capable 1024×600 glass display, a dual-core processor and 8GB of built-in storage.

Amazon promises about  8 hours of battery life of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback (assuming the wireless is off). It should take about 4 hours to fully charge the device.

Amazon, of course, is also using its current library of books, magazines and videos to market the device. The Kindle Fire will have easy access to all of Amazon’s products. The company is also expecting to see special interactive editions of numerous magazines (including Vanity Fair, Wired, and GQ) for the Kindle Fire.

As far as standard Android apps go, the Kindle Fire will support Amazon’s own Android App Store, which currently has about 10,000 apps in it.

As far as the specs go, the Kindle Fire is comparable to the Nook Color in most respects (the screen size, weight and battery life are virtually identical, though the Nook only has a single-core processor). The $199 price point sets it apart from its competition, though. The Nook Color costs $249.

Browsing with Amazon Silk

silk_browserOne surprising feature of the Kindle Fire is the new built-in Silk browser. With Silk, Amazon is rethinking how a browser should work in the age of cloud computing (though one could argue that Opera Turbo already pioneered some of its technologies). Silk uses Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing network to offload a lot of the computing necessary to render a page. Amazon will also pre-load pages it feels sure you will visit next. The browser also keeps a persistent connection to the EC2 network open so that it can respond to new requests faster.

The New Kindle Lineup:

(click on image to see a larger version)

new_kindle_lineup



3:45 pm


$99 TouchPad Fire Sale Sets Off Internet Frenzy

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Nobody wanted to buy a TouchPad at $499 (for the 16GB version). Very few people wanted to buy one at the reduced price of $399. At $99, however, it’s hard to say no to any decent tablet, even if it’s a discontinued model. Now that some resellers have started to discount the HP TouchPad base model after the company announced that it would exit the tablet market altogether earlier this week, some parts of the Internet have started to feel like Black Friday in August.

While Best Buy in Canada was already selling the TouchPad at the highly discounted price, few U.S. outlets offered the discounted price so far. Some enterprising shoppers have found ways to get a hold of some units, though. HP itself, for example, was selling $99 TouchPads on its site for academic users and those with HP Employee Purchase Programs sponsored by their companies. Those units are gone now.

I doubt HP ever saw quite a run on a product like tonight – especially one that was, until today, an extremely unpopular one. Today, however, the folks over at deals forum SlickDeals have already posted almost 350 pages worth of comments about this deal. Users there are hunting the Internet for new stock somewhere and are counting down the time until Amazon could potentially offer the $99 deal as well. There is also quite some confusion about whether Best Buy will have $99 units in stock tomorrow morning – or if all the unsold inventory will be shipped back to HP.

Overall, then, this must be a rather depressing moment for HP. It’s flagship tablet is finally selling like hotcakes (or iPads) – but at a major loss for the company.

 



6:01 am