In the face of Google/Asus' impressive Nexus 7 tablet and the eternally popular Apple iPad, Amazon appears to have risen to the challenge in the tablet PC wars.
In what amounted to Amazon's biggest and most strategic connected-device announcement in its 18-year history, the online retailer and Web services provider Sept. 6 unveiled and demonstrated three new versions of its popular Kindle tablet PC.
- an 8.9-inch high-definition Kindle Fire with 4G connectivity, 32GB of storage and a bold new $49.99-per-year data services plan;
- a 7-inch Kindle Fire with double RAM, a faster processor and longer battery life; and
- a backlit Kindle e-reader featuring what Amazon calls a Paperwhite display that enables users to read in the dark.
Each of the three devices is available for order starting today (Sept. 6) from the Amazon Website. The Kindle Fire HD will begin shipping Nov. 20. The 7-inch Kindle Fire and the Paperwhite e-reader will ship Sept. 14.
Amazon is being aggressive with pricing, with the top-end Kindle Fire HD selling for $499, in contrast to $729 for a comparable iPad; $159 for the 7-inch Kindle Fire; $199 for a Google Nexus 7 and $69 for the new e-reader.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who made all the announcements at a media event in Los Angeles, claimed that a Kindle Fire HD and a one-year data plan will cost about half of what a comparable Apple iPad and its own plan will cost.
"An iPad 3 costs $729 for the device. A 12-month data plan, with 250MB worth of downloads per month, 20GB of cloud storage and a $10 App Store credit, will cost $230, for a total of $959. Our Kindle Fire HD costs $499 for the device, and the comparable service package is $50 per year, for a total of $549," Bezos said.
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