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Handhelds Android Hardware

Amazon Debuts Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD In 2 Sizes 307

Posted by timothy
from the plus-they-wash-your-back dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Amazon used a Sept. 6 event in California to debut a range of products, including a front-lit [not back-lit, as originally reported] Kindle e-reader with a higher-resolution screen, an updated Kindle Fire, and the new Kindle Fire HD in two screen sizes. First, Bezos showed off a new version of the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, complete with a front-lit, higher-resolution screen (221 pixels-per-inch and 25 percent more contrast, according to Amazon). The device weighs 7.5 ounces and is 9.1mm thin; battery life is rated at eight weeks, and the screen brightness is adjustable. He then showed off the updated Kindle Fire, before moving to the Kindle Fire HD, which features a choice of 7-inch or 8.9-inch screens, dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, two antennas for better Wi-Fi pickup, and a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor (which Bezos claimed could out-perform the Tegra 3). The Kindle Fire HD's 7-inch version will retail for $199 and ship Sept. 14, while the 8.9-inch version will cost $299 and ship Nov. 20. An 8.9-inch, 4G LTE-enabled version with 32GB storage will be available starting Nov. 20 for $499, paired with a $49.99-a-year data plan."
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Amazon Debuts Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD In 2 Sizes

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  • I want to feel warm and fuzzy and covered in the goodness of complete googleness

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:18PM (#41252177)

      I want to feel warm and fuzzy and covered in the goodness of complete googleness

      I picked up a Fire as a cheap 'Android' tablet while visiting the US. Once I got it back to the UK, it was pretty hopeless. No Amazon Marketplace over here and the odd hardware profile means most apps turn up their nose at it, even with sideloaded Google Market. I will be looking at the Nexus 7 or similar when I come to replace it. Sorry Amazon, nice try, but your walled garden isn't for me.

      • by Jethro (14165) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:46PM (#41252601) Homepage

        It is absolutely trivial to transform a Kindle Fire into a regular Android tablet. My mom did it. I got a refurb one specifically for that purpose. It is currently running Jelly Bean pretty smoothly.

      • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @03:03PM (#41252795) Journal

        Amazon's walled garden is the #1 strength of the Nexus 7. Also, the latest Android is nice. I have the Amazon Kindle app, the B&N Nook app, Google's Play Books app, and of course an audio-book player which is what I use most often. I was wondering what Amazon could offer that would make me wish I had a Kindle Fire HD. Looks like nothing.

        On the positive side, the $300 price point for the larger device is eye-opening, though I'm pretty happy with my 7". My family keeps stealing it, and my wife travels with it, even though she has an iPad. The Nexus 7 is simply a better e-book reader than any current iPad.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Does Google include 10-20 dollar books that can be borrowed for free? Or Fantasy & Science magazine for a mere $12/year? Or e-ink that is easy on the eyes? Or free 3G web surfing? My kindle has all of that.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        and a nice horribly slow refresh rate, no games, no netflix, or any other useful application.

        Eink is not a tablet replacement.

        • and a nice horribly slow refresh rate, no games, no netflix, or any other useful application.

          Not true of the Fire which fixes all of those problems and still gives you the first two things listed (lending and cheap SF).

          The eInk kindle cannot replace a tablet, no, it simply makes for a great companion to a tablet...

          And if you like the eInk Kindle why would you not start to consider the Fire?

          • by mikestew (1483105)

            And if you like the eInk Kindle why would you not start to consider the Fire?

            Because if I want an eye-searing backlit reader to use after the lights go out, I'll use my wife's iPad 3 which has a much better DPI than the Fire. Horses for courses, and for reading I'll use my e-ink Kindle whenever I can (and maybe I'll get the new Paperweight to solve the after-dark problem). When I want to use a tablet for tablety stuff, the Fire is not my first choice.

            • DPI (Score:4, Insightful)

              by manekineko2 (1052430) on Friday September 07, 2012 @12:22AM (#41257031)

              iPad 3 which has a much better DPI than the Fire

              iPad 3rd Gen has a resolution of 2048×1536 on a 9.7" screen, giving it a DPI of 264.

              Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has a resolution of 1920x1200 on a 8.9" screen, giving it a DPI of 254.

              For all intents and purposes, the Kindle Fire HD has the same DPI as the latest iPad.

        • by dffuller (200455) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:37PM (#41252471)

          Nor is a tablet a suitable replacement for an Eink reader.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @03:00PM (#41252759)

            Actually it is. I use one in that fashion regularly.

            • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @03:49PM (#41253387)

              As has been reported recently on Slashdot (and known to people with circadian rhythm disorders for much longer) staring at a backlit screen at night can seriously screw up your sleep schedule. Not to mention many people have more eyestrain from backlit screens than non-emissive ones. For many people, a tablet is a terrible replacement for an eInk ereader. Does make me wonder if this Paperwhite will have the same problems though.

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                That study did not seem very complete. I would bet on a strong placebo effect.

                Eyestrain from backlit screens is another one of those bullshit conditions. People spend 8 hours looking into an LCD, then go home and spend another couple hours looking at a bigger LCD. No one ever complains about the monitor or the tv, but if its a book they say "oh noes lcd will burn the eyeballs out of your sockets!!".

            • by chrismcb (983081) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:38AM (#41258057) Homepage
              Get back to me after you spend most of the 8 hours of your 10 hour flight reading... and then immediately get on a train for a 10 hour train trip. How's that tablet working now?
              I like eink as I don't have to stare at a light bulb to read. Plus it has about a one month battery life.
        • no games, no netflix, or any other useful application

          I think you are forgetting about the incredibly useful application that millions of e-ink kindle owners are incredibly satisfied. Or do you need all of your entertainment spoonfed to you through a bunch of blinky lights?

      • by Bryansix (761547)
        The Kindle app is in the Google Play marketplace. I don't know what this has to do with anything.
      • by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:55PM (#41252701)

        "My kindle has all of that."

        Mine too. I own all the models but the touch has a problem in country life.
        Each time a fly lands on it, there's a page change, back or forward, depending on the landing zone.
        Sometimes the fly also looks-up a word in the dictionary.

        • by Coppit (2441) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @03:54PM (#41253433) Homepage

          Hold long will the (hu)man hold down the proud black fly?

        • "My kindle has all of that."

          Mine too. I own all the models but the touch has a problem in country life.
          Each time a fly lands on it, there's a page change, back or forward, depending on the landing zone.
          Sometimes the fly also looks-up a word in the dictionary.

          At one time an ant highlighted the words "advocate leniency" on a page in my Sony reader. Maybe those insects have more communication skills than we give them credit for :)

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:08PM (#41252011)

    Kindle has a nice idea of how the device can be used in a family, where the parents can control time spent by kids.

    It'll be interesting to see if Apple has anything up and comping to address this same problem, until now they have kind of ignore this.

    I think Amazon could do very well with the new Fire, and also the new PaperWhite kindle - that's the first e-ink Kindle that appeals to me, the others were just too low contrast for me. And even iPad owners could easily be enticed to buy a cheaper e-ink Kindle... that could well help cement them as the leader in e-Books (not that they were not already pretty cemented).

    • by Robadob (1800074) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:11PM (#41252055)
      I would have thought, apples plan is that every user in the house owns their own iDevice, rather than sharing them.
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:17PM (#41252153)

        That probably is Apple's plan. It was easy enough to carry forth when there were no good competitors. But instead of getting each of two kids an iPad, a single Kindle Fire for both is viable... it'll be interesting to see uptake on this vs. Apple's plan, or if Apple decides that in fact they should think about more of a multi-user approach.

        Apple is even sort of well positioned to take up multi-user stuff if they want to thanks to iCloud, each kid could have a different iCloud account and the device could easily switch home directories based on the current iCloud user setting. They just don't make that easy to do right now (I think it would re-sync the device every time you switched users).

        Indeed, Amazon could probably not have managed this this family thing without the Whispersync stuff in place themselves...

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You've met any siblings? If one wants to do something, the other will want to do the same thing, just because the other does it. Time share plan is a good idea in theory... practice on the other hand ... not so much.

          • That's a great point but it comes up hard against the economic reality of many families not being able to afford an iPad per kid.

            I know a number of families that make kids share an iPad, it builds character after all. But with a multi-user approach a brother could not screw with his sisters games.

          • by Cinder6 (894572)

            You've met any siblings? If one wants to do something, the other will want to do the same thing, just because the other does it. Time share plan is a good idea in theory... practice on the other hand ... not so much.

            Talk about a first-world problem. "I had to get little Timmy his own iPad because he and little Johnny were always fighting over the other one." Heaven forbid kids should learn to share. (Strongly resisting the obvious "back when I was a kid" anecdote. I'm only partially successful.)

        • by kybred (795293) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:37PM (#41252465)

          But instead of getting each of two kids an iPad, a single Kindle Fire for both is viable...

          I'm guessing that you don't have two (or more) kids. Share is typically not in their vocabulary.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)

      ...the parents can control time spent by kids.

      Wow, they can use the device to make sure kids read?

      • Wow, they can use the device to make sure kids read?

        The parental controls could in theory, allocate the amount of time permitted between apps and books.

        I have no idea if they do, but they could.

        That doesn't technically make them read but reading on a tablet might be "cool" enough even a kid that did not otherwise want to read would do so.

  • Interesting change in wording. That means 56 days of reading 1-hour per day instead of 62 days. Meanwhile Barnes advertises "over 2 months" for their nooks.

    Also the 4G version probably won't have free web surfing (like the kindle keyboard has).

    • by oji-sama (1151023) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:35PM (#41252419)

      Interesting change in wording. That means 56 days of reading 1-hour per day instead of 62 days. Meanwhile Barnes advertises "over 2 months" for their nooks.

      Are you quite sure?

      Barnes on Nook Glowlight:
      Read for over 1 month on a single charge with GlowLight on (based on a half hour of daily reading time)1 Read for over 2 months with GlowLight off (based on a half hour of daily reading time)1

      Amazon on Kindle Paperwhite:
      "So we worked on our power management — Kindle paperwhite can get eight weeks of battery life even with the light on.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Thanks for the correction. :-) Sounds like amazon's glowing ebook lasts about 3 weeks longer than the Nook Glow. Ya know..... it would be simpler for customers if they just used "hours":

        "The Glow last over 30 hours with glowlight; over 60 hours without glowlight." - "Amazon Paperwhite lasts 56 hours even with the light..... almost double that without."

        • by oji-sama (1151023)

          Ya know..... it would be simpler for customers if they just used "hours":

          "The Glow last over 30 hours with glowlight; over 60 hours without glowlight." - "Amazon Paperwhite lasts 56 hours even with the light..... almost double that without."

          It would be simpler for us, but I believe that for most customers that half an hour a day value (I hope they at least have the same daily amount) does give a better estimate on how long they can actually use the device without recharging ^.^ Actually, a value over 20 hours is all I would need...

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:23PM (#41252243) Journal

    I think the terms you are looking for are frontlit and thick. Still, I'm a bit disappointed that the DX is such an ugly stepchild. Certainly there's a market for a reasonably priced larger format e-reader.

    I'm thinking about returning my recently acquired kindle gen 4 since I may not get to use it much in the next month, and a built in light is a major feature.

  • ...and computing sales tax on a state-by-state business is too difficult for them. Bah!
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:30PM (#41252347)

      Sales tax is not state by state, it is county by county or in some states town by town.

      I have been involved in projects to do this and it is a huge PITA. State sales tax is easy, town or county are hard since zip codes and other such normal address data do not tell you if they are within a town/county or not.

      • by Solandri (704621)
        This really needs to be handled at the Federal government level. The way it's done right now is ludicrous. You have companies which purport to provide updated tax tables. They have to monitor every municipal government in the country for any new or changes to the sales taxes. Basically the equivalent of polling in CompSci. The thing is, none of them will indemnify you against errors they make. If they screw up and you've been charging the too little tax for a week, you have to pay for the shortfall, n
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>computing sales tax on a state-by-state business is too difficult for them

      Actually Amazon collects use* tax in ~10 different states, so you're hitting them without reason. Weird observation though: They only charge me 1.5% instead of the full 6%. Guess the computation IS difficult after all.

      *
      *It's called a "use" tax not a sales tax when the product originates from a non-resident seller. And it only applies to Amazon not the private sellers.

  • by joelsanda (619660) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:29PM (#41252325) Homepage

    I read "Paperweight" instead of "Paperwhite"

  • Which is a sweet price for a 7" tablet as long as it can be rooted and ROM'd.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/09/amazon-shows-off-new-kindle-fire-shipping-sept-14-for-159/ [arstechnica.com]

  • OMAP 4470 "Can outperform the Tegra 3"? The Tegra 3 has 1.2-1.7 GHz QUAD CORE ARM Cortex-A9 application-optimized cores with NEON. The OMAP 4470 has 1.5-1.8GHz DUAL CORE ARM Cortex-A9 application optimized cores with NEON. You know that means the slowest Tegra has 1/3 more processing power available than the fastest OMAP 4470, and its single-core speed is 2/3 that of the OMAP? If you went with the Tegra 3 T33 used in the Asus T700 at 1.7GHz, you'd have 95% of the single core speed and 90% more total pro

    • by msauve (701917)
      You don't understand systems, do you?
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      I know its 2012 and all but not everything is multi-threaded for quad core optimization. The faster clockrate may in fact yield better results in some cases.
  • by alen (225700) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:36PM (#41252447)

    Steve jobs would never have allowed this to happen

    He would have had bezos killed by his secret ninja assassins a long time ago

  • The hardware seems good for the price, but I'm not at all thrilled with Amazon's custom software. The Kindle Fire HD might be a good deal if they get CyanogenMod working on it. A resolution of 1920x1080 on a 8.9-inch tablet doesn't quite match Apple's 10" @ 2048x1536, but it comes pretty close and is $200 cheaper. Strangely, no articles seem to say what the resolution will be on the smaller 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @02:54PM (#41252695)

    Why why why Amazon? Pretty much everything about the new Kindle sounds great except for the lack of page turn buttons. I'm still using my 3rd generation Kindle and I'd love to upgrade it to a higher contrast screen with built in lighting, but touchscreen-only navigation is a killer. It makes one handed reading more difficult and uncomfortable, will cause screen smudges, and will be nearly impossible to operate with gloves.

    • by coljac (154587)

      This was my reaction exactly. However I've never tried a Kindle touch, and imagined there was some sort of swipe gesture required. I just had a look on youtube though and it seems pretty tolerable.

      • I own a Kindle Touch. You tap the screen to navigate pages; The left-most 1/5 of the screen is for back a page, the rest is forward a page. You can easily hook the right hand side of the screen with the base of your thumb, and use the tip to skip pages, or with a decent case you just rest it on your knee and tap when you want. Pressing near the top brings up the menu. Swipe up or down to navigate through chapters.

        I've not used a non-touch Kindle, but I can't imagine it being any easier than the Kindle Touc
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @04:18PM (#41253675) Homepage

    Kindle DX2 please. 11 inch screen with this new screen tech please.. I know a LOT of people that would kill for an A4 size screen.

    • by wiedzmin (1269816)

      Yes, and this time actually support it please. My original Kindle DX feels about as abandoned as they get - not a single update, unlike the smaller, non-premium cost models, to browser functionality, only one freaking image per periodical... it's ridiculous. I will not buy another Kindle until I see assurance that it isn't going to get ignored, support wise, the same way the original DX has been.

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