Lot’s of new gear introduced by Amazon today. Amazon held an invite-only event in an airplane hanger in Santa Monica, California. Guests were treated to several product announcements, some of which could be game changers. They again stressed the tablet as a service device and not a gadget (which means Amazon makes their profits off of software, book, and music sales rather than profit from the hardware device itself). As Jeff Bezos stated, “We want to make money when people USE our devices, not when the BUY our devices.”
Amazon’s $119 ($179 for 3G connectivity) Paperwhite uses a new high-contrast display technology and promises 8 weeks battery life. It features a front-lit display that uses flat optical cables to disperse the light allowing light to spread more evenly across the reading surface giving the reader a more paper-like reading experience. Paperwhite should prove a good competitor to Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. It features a smarter Android-based OS too that monitors your activity for reporting purposes. For instance, rather than informing the reader that they have 100 pages remaining in the book, the OS uses analysis algorithms to tell the reader how many hours of reading they have remaining. Preorders began today and it will begin shipping on October 1, 2012.
Amazon reduced the price of the $79 Amazon Kindle to $69 for the ad-supported version. Even at the cheaper price the device brings some performance improvements over the older model.
The new Kindle Fire 7 in. tablet price was a shocker. $159 is going to send sales through the roof on this thing. It includes a faster proc3essor and twice as much RAM providing a 40% performance improvement (and improved battery life). It will Ship September 14, 2012.
In addition, new Kindle Fire HD devices, with 7-inch and a 8.9 inch screen were introduced. The 8.9 inch model is the big news. Featuring a 1920×1200 resolution screen at 254 pixels per inch, this one might be a game changer. Two MIMO Wi-Fi antennas, dual-core ARM Cortex A9 OMAP4470 processor, front-facing camera, and killer Dolby digital plus audio with dual speakers. They include Bluetooth connectivity and a HDMI port for hooking into your bigscreen TV. There is also a Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE (32GB storage) which will be priced at $499 with a $50/year data plan (250MB bandwidth per month and 20GB cloud storage). The new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Wi Fi device will ship November 20 and will be priced at $299. The 7-inch version will stay at $199 and ships September 14.
In addition to new gear, Amazon is continuing to push their self-publishing unit which they claim accounts for a significant portion of their top selling titles this year. Kindle Serials for serialized fiction allows the purchaser to buy once ($1.99) and get all future installations of the serial. The first serial to be offered is Neal Pollack’s Downward Facing Death. Whispersync technology provides a quiet, reading voice that will allow you to read a book and hear an actor narrate. New software also allows multiple profiles and custom Facebook and Skype apps.
And unfortunately, no mobile smartphone device was announced as some had expected.