Amazon Opens Fire
Amazon has unveiled its Kindle Fire HD range of tablets. The devices will be available in 7”, 8.9”, and 4G LTE flavours.
It's the 4G LTE which stands out of the line-up. The tablet comes with a yearly data plan, for a one-off annual cost of $49.99, which gives 250MB of data a month, with 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage and $10 credit in its Appstore to sweeten the deal. Customers can also upgrade to larger, 3GB or 5GB data plans from AT&T.
Honestly, this model looks to be aimed directly at the iPad - and that's something Amazon doesn't seem too shy about.
“We’re taking on the most popular price point for a tablet, $499, but doubling the storage and incredibly, adding ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”
It appears that for now at least, only the 7” version will be available in the UK – with a 32GB version costing £159, and 64GB going for £199 – along with the original Kindle Fire, finally going on sale outside of the US. Or a beefed-up version of it, at least, with a faster processor, longer battery life, and double storage – selling for £129.
On the software front, Amazon has expanded its X-Ray for Books feature – which enables users to see further information on a mentioned place, person or other topic – to include textbooks, and IMDb-integrated capabilities for films, and its Whispersync app – which synchronises a users' place between eBooks and audiobooks – to include gaming apps. It's also added FreeTime parental controls and updated the Amazon Silk web browser.
It also seems to be introducing in-app advertising, pushing specific Amazon product offers to users. It looks like a deal with app publishers, starting with Activision, driving sales of products which are tied to the content of the app. Amazon used the example of popular children's game and toy franchise Skylanders, briefly, but is remaining fairly quiet on the matter for now.
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