Amazon introduced four new devices to the world today, one made specifically for multimedia and each at an attention-grabbing low price. Three new Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet will connect Amazon more closely with content and consumers than ever before. The company is careful not to call the Kindle Fire a tablet, however, preferring to position it as a new class of Kindle to avoid confusing it with laptop-replacement devices like Apple’s market dominating iPad.
For $199, the Kindle Fire (pictured) delivers the user’s choice of over 100,000 streamed, downloaded, rented or purchased movies and television shows from Amazon Instant Video. It’s also integrated with the unlimited commercial-free streaming service that comes in the Amazon Prime package, which costs $79 a year (discounted for students, child caretakers and certain other consumer categories), which would make accessing and watching that content a fairly seamless process.
It can also multitask, making it possible to listen to music while leafing through magazines for instance. Books, music, graphic novels, magazines and newspapers from the Kindle store obviously work with the Kindle Fire. Additionally, Amazon has a selection of the most popular Android apps and games, filtered for compatibility with the device, and offers one paid app for free each day. Under the hood, the Kindle Fire has 8 Gb of memory and a Gingerbread foundation.
The four devices each provide free storage for all Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud, where it’s automatically backed up and available from any other Kindle device or application, and the company’s Whispersync keeps a user’s bookmarks and content synchronized across all of their access points. A movie started during a flight, for example, could be picked up on a connected TV right where it was paused.
People who would rather have a device designed specifically for reading now have three new Kindles. For $79, the least expensive Kindle has the familiar 6-inch electronic ink display but is now 5.98 ounces (30 percent lighter) and smaller. For $99, the Kindle Touch adds a touch screen and grows a little. For $149, Kindle Touch 3G is a Kindle Touch with free no-contract 3G connectivity that works anywhere in over 100 countries around the world.
All three new Kindle e-readers are subsidized by advertising, initially from AT&T, the Dove beauty brand and Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card by Chase. The same readers without advertising cost more: $109 for the Kindle, $139 for the Kindle Touch, and $189 for the top of the line Kindle Touch 3G.
“We’ve now reached the magical two-digit price point for Kindle – twice: the new Kindle and Kindle Touch are only $79 and $99. Kindle Touch 3G is the new top of the line e-reader with free 3G – no monthly fees or annual contracts – and is only $149,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. “Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we’ve been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers.”