It’s official! New Kindle hardware…and software
I think that’s a record! Five press releases from Amazon in the same day…announcing two new non-Fire Kindles, three new Fires, and a new version of the Fire operating system!
Let’s break this down:
We’ll start with the non-Fire Kindles (all information is for the USA, although I believe all these models may be available elsewhere):
Kindle Voyage, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) Also available with 3G+Wi-Fi, for $269 with Special Offers, $289 without them
This is the new top of the line, flagship model.
It’s $199 with Special Offers, $219 without them.
It will be competing with the Kobo Aura HD, which lists for $169.99 (about $30 cheaper).
Releasing on October 21st (pre-order now).
- It’s thinner: .30 inches (7.6mm) versus .36 (9.1mm) on the Paperwhite
- It has twice the pixels per inch (300) as the Paperwhite: that will make it much, much crisper. The more dots you fit in the same place, the more detail
- Turn pages by applying pressure to the edge (the bezel), not the screen. You’ll still be able to swipe or tap, but this should keep the screen a lot cleaner (not that that has been much of an issue for me…they created a screen that doesn’t show the fingerprints much). It should be smart enough not to accidentally turn the page for a typical user
- The frontlight (like the Paperwhite…the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had, including paper) will adjust either automatically or manually)
- The screen is supposed to feel like paper…um, okay
I’ll deal more with the software later in this post, because that will affect more than this one device.
This is the new entry level model (which they once again insist on just calling a “Kindle”).
$79 with Special Offers, $99 without them.
Releasing October 2nd (pre-order available now).
- Touchscreen…good-bye, five way controllers
- Faster processor
- We’re back to 4GB of storage
The Paperwhite will continue to be offered as the mid-range device: $119 with Special Offers, $139 without them.
Okay, let’s talk about new software features/services for the non-Fire devices (these do not show for the Paperwhite, but some may show up there eventually):
- You’ll be able to link Amazon accounts! This is a huge difference. They are calling it “Family Library”, and specifically mention a “spouse or partner”…I wonder if you’ll have to provide proof of relationship?
- Word Wise: this one automatically (you can adjust it) defines “difficult” words for you. It reminds me of a comedian who talked about how the movie makers new 1950s science fiction were going to be watched by kids. So, two of the greatest scientists in the world would be speaking to each other, and they’d define the words for the kiddos: “He’s growing in an accelerated…speeded up…fashion” 😉 I suppose this may be useful for some people
- About the Book: finally! The book will tell you where it is in a series, tell you about the author, and let you mark your Goodreads progress from your Kindle
- Enhanced search: more search results in one place
- More Goodreads integration
Now, on to the new Fires:
$99 for 8GB with Special Offers
$114 for 8GB without Special Offers
$119 for 16GB with Special Offers
$134 for 16GB without Special Offers
Releasing October 2, pre-order now
This is a competitive tablet for under $100!
- It comes in five colors! Black, Magenta, White, Citron, and Cobalt
- 1280×800 HD screen, 252 pixels per inch: brighter, whiter
- 1.5 ghz quadcore processor…much faster
- Front and rear-facing camera (2MP for the rear-facing)
- WPS Office integration: edit Excel and Word without a separate app
- Family profiles
- Family Library (see above: link accounts)
- Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP)…it guesses what you will want to watch and pre-loads it. I really like this on my Fire TV, although you might think it’s a small thing. It’s nice not to wait for things to load when you want to watch them (that’s often the case). The Fire TV is so much faster than my Roku! I really notice that with YouTube (which is presumably not due to ASAP)…it takes many times longer on the Roku for the app to load
- Firefly real object and media recognition, like my Fire Phone
- Fire OS 4, which I’ll cover separately
Basically the same as above, except an inch bigger screen and stereo instead of mono speakers.
$139 8GB with Special Offers
$154 8GB without Special Offers
$159 16GB with Special Offers
$174 16 GB without Special Offers
Releasing October 2
$149 for six inches
$189 for seven inches
Releases October 21st (look for this one in particular to sell out…I’m guessing manufacturing those kid-proof cases slows the supply chain).
People have wanted something like this for a long time…a purpose-built kids’ device. If the kids break it in the first two years, Amazon will replace it…for free.
- Comes with a free year of Kindle Unlimited
- Amazon Freetime camera and photo…kids can take pictures, but can’t share them on social media
Looks like a powerful (it has the quad-core processor) tablet, and probably a good choice for kids.
$379 16GB with Special Offers
$394 16GB without Special Offers
$429 32GB with Special Offers
$444 32GB without Special Offers
$479 64GB with Special Offers
$494 64GB without Special Offers
Releasing October 21st, pre-order now
- A massive 2560 x 1600 display, 339 ppi (4 million pixels), 30% more pixels than the iPad Retina display
- 20% lighter than iPad Air
- 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
- Twice as loud as iPad air, with Dolby Atmos for headphones (says it is the first tablet with that)
- Mayday and Firefly
- 8MP rear-facing camera (compare to the 2MP above), front-facing camera
Like the above, but with unlocked GSM (including AT&T)…this has the cellular connection.
$529 32GB with Special Offers
$544 32GB without Special Offers
$579 64GB with Special Offers
$594 64GB without Special Offers
Releasing October 21st.
Verizon version, otherwise same as immediately above, including pricing and release date.
Kindle Fire press releases:
Now, on to the new Fire OS (Operating System):
- This will be on the new Kindle Fires, and will come to the 3rd Generation (most recent) Kindle Fires through an over-the-air update
- They again named it after an alcoholic drink…I’d prefer that they don’t do that, but it looks like that’s the pattern right now
- “… adds Profiles so each family member can have their own individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, spot in a movie, and game levels.”
- Based on KitKat
- Up to 25% more battery life with a “smart suspend” feature…proactively turns wireless access on and off
- Family Library (see above…shared accounts)
- Also coming to Fire Phone
- Private Mode and print support coming to the Silk Browser
- Free unlimited Cloud storage of photos taken on Fire devices
Some of these features won’t be there at launch, and will be “coming soon”. The Fire Phone won’t get Fire OS 4 until “early next year”.
I would say that this is not a conservative product cycle. It will be interesting to see how these shake out in terms of popularity. I’m interested in what you think (and what questions you might have). Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.