June 25, 2024

Bits Blog: Amazon Unveils New Kindles

Mr. Bezos closes out the event. “We are not building the best tablet at a certain price; we’re building the best tablet at any price,” he said.

Thanks for following along and watch for our article on the event shortly.

In case you wanted more acronyms: Mr. Bezos announces the Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE. It has 32 gigabytes of memory and will cost $499. The data plan will cost $50 a year for 250 megabytes. It ships Nov. 20 and can be ordered today.

The most significant announcement so far today is the price of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD — $300. Amazon is undercutting Apple’s 9.7-inch Pad by $200, shaving off a tiny bit of screen to bring the price down.

Amazon’s $500 version of the Kindle Fire HD outdoes the iPad in a number of ways, too. It includes 4G LTE cellular connectivity and 32GB of storage. The cheapest 4G LTE iPad costs $630 with 16GB of storage.

Brian X. Chen

Mr. Bezos is stressing that he wants Amazon to make money when people use Kindle devices, not when they buy them — i.e., the money comes from sales of media and other Amazon products. “We don’t need you to be on the upgrade treadmill,” he says. “We’re happy that people are still using Kindle 1’s that are five years old.” He’s taking a swipe at Apple by saying there is no justification for a $499 tablet.

The 7-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD will cost $199 and ships Sept. 14. The 8.9-inch version will cost $299 and ships in November. Both come with 16 gigabytes of memory.

Mr. Bezos is showing a television ad for the new Kindle Fire HD and talking about the content available for the device, all its new features.

Mr. Bezos is demonstrating the new Kindle Fire HD on stage. He’s playing games, watching movies and listening to music. The screen looks bright and sharp. Unlike the first version of the Kindle Fire, which was slow and clunky, the interactivity on the Kindle Fire HD seems fast and responsive.

Kindle Free Time, a new feature, allows you to set time limits for different kinds of content on the Kindle Fire HD. Mr. Bezos said he sets time limits for when his children can use games, watch movies or read a book.

Mr. Bezos is talking a lot about interactivity and social media. He said Skype, Facebook, Microsoft and others have built custom applications for the new Kindle Fire HD.

Introducing X-Ray for movies on the Kindle Fire HD. Mr. Bezos says users will be able to click on an actor in a movie and find out more about him or her, using the IMDB database, which Amazon owns. (A similar X-Ray feature lets you see where characters appear in books on black-and-white Kindles.)

The larger of the two Kindle Fire HD models has an 8.9-inch display with 16 gigabytes of storage. That compares with the iPad, which has a 9.7-inch display with 16 gigabytes of storage, for $500 with Wi-Fi, or $630 with Wi-Fi and a 4G cellular connection. Pricing is yet to be announced for the larger Kindle Fire HD. That model also adds a new front-facing camera with Skype integration, which competes with the front-facing camera on the iPad and Apple’s FaceTime videoconferencing features.

Brian X. Chen

The new Kindle Fire HD will have better Wi-Fi, Mr. Bezos says. The Wi-Fi is now on the 5-gigahertz band. The device will also have two antennas, compared to the iPad and other tablets which have one, he says. Also adding MIMO, or “multiple input and multiple output,” to the device. With all the new technology and antennas, the Kindle HD will have 41 percent faster Wi-Fi than the latest iPad, Mr. Bezos says.

Mr. Bezos discussing the Kindle Fire HD.Mr. Bezos discussing the Kindle Fire HD.

Mr. Bezos introduced a new Kindle Fire called the Kindle Fire HD. It comes in two sizes, including a larger version with an 8.9-inch display that has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. It has dual stereo speakers, rather than the one speaker in the current Fire. Mr. Bezos says it is the first tablet to have Dolby Digital Plus audio.

Mr. Bezos moves on to the new Kindle Fire, which he says is 40 percent faster than the previous model and has longer battery life. It is priced at $159 and ships Sept. 14. “In less than a year, Kindle Fire is 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S.,” Mr. Bezos says.

Amazon is releasing a new type of book that will come in episode form. Buy once, and receive all the future “episodes.” This is a new experiment, Mr. Bezos said. Getting the updates is automatic and seamless. (He keeps referring to them as “episodes.”) Kindle Serials will cost $1.99 each, including all of the episodes.

Mr. Bezos says Amazon has sold 3.5 million of its Kindle Singles, short-form e-books. Stephen King, Lee Child and others have written Kindle Singles.

Mr. Bezos is talking about the direct publishing model it has been offering. Mr. Bezos says that of the top 100 paid Kindle books, 27 are created through Kindle’s direct publishing service. Now he’s showing a video of authors that were unable to sell a book to a publisher, but then became best-sellers on Amazon through its publishing service.

The old Kindle e-reader has been updated too. It is now going to cost $69. It has improved screen resolution and software updates.

A version of the Kindle Paperwhite that has free 3G data service will cost $179. The non-3G version is $119. Both will be released in October but can be ordered now.

Mr. Bezos says the new Kindle has an 8-week battery life. “You won’t have to charge it until Halloween,” he jokes.

The new Kindle now has author biographies, just like the backs of paper books. When you click on the author bio you can see other books written by that author and then purchase them directly from the Kindle Paperwhite.

Amazon has introduced new fonts for the Kindle, including Palatino, Helvetica and Futura. (In the past the Kindle gave only these options: regular, condensed and sans serif.) There are now six fonts on the Kindle.

Amazon is finally putting its acquisitions to good use with the latest updates to the Kindle. The new touchscreen added to the Paperwhite likely comes from its acquisition of TouchCo, a start-up it purchased in 2010 that specializes in touch-screen technology. The light system used on the new Kindle is likely from Oy Modilis, a Finnish company Amazon also bought in 2010.

“It’s thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paper,” Mr. Bezos says. The screen looks like it’s backlit, but it uses a new technology developed by Amazon where the light comes from the screen’s bottom edge. The touch-sensitive bit is layered on top, rather than below, as it was before. This creates better touch accuracy and a thinner design.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is lighter and thinner than the previous Kindle. Mr. Bezos says its screen has 212 pixels per inch, which is 62 percent more than the previous Kindle (167 pixels per inch).

Amazon is showing a video of customers who “love” their Kindle. They are talking about a new Kindle: it has a sharper screen and new fonts, and it’s lighter. “This is exactly what ‘Star Trek’ promised me would happen,” one person says.

Mr. Bezos is talking about Amazon as a service, not a gadget. “Kindle Fire is a service. What does it mean for a hardware device to be a service? It greets you by name,” he says. “It has the lowest prices on content, it keeps your place for you, it keeps all of your content in the Amazon cloud, backed up, worry-free.” But don’t forget the hardware: “Hardware is a critical part of the service, absolutely essential.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, on stage on Thursday.Nick Bilton/The New York TimesJeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, on stage on Thursday.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, is on stage. He played a new TV ad that shows off Amazon’s innovations over the years, from Kindles to fashion. “We love to invent,” he says. “We love to pioneer.”

Journalists have filed into the dark airplane hangar where the press conference is being held. “Maneater,” by Hall Oates, is mysteriously playing on the loudspeakers.

Article source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/live-updates-from-amazon-press-event/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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