Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire – New Amazon devices announced…

Today, on September 28th, 2011, during Amazon press conference in New York, Jeff Bezos has announced several new versions of the Kindle Device: Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire and Kindle 4 mini.

Kindle Touch


Kindle Touch 3G

Will have a 6″ latest generation eInk. There will be no keyboard, not even page flipping buttons, with all features accessible via “easy reach” system touch interface. Touchscreen uses the same infrared technology as latest generation Sony eReaders. Kindle Touch is made of silver plastic (again similar to latest Sony eReaders). It will be available on November 21st with pre-orders starting today in two flavors – WiFi only for less than a $100.00 (!!!!) -$99 and 3G for $149. Amazon is pretty consistent with charging $50 for “lifetime unlimited 3G access available in over 100 countries”. It seems like the software has gotten an upgrade as well with the new X-Ray feature that lets you do rich text lookups that go beyond looking up single words in the dictionary. It seems to pull Wikipedia description of general concepts mentioned on the page you are currently reading.

Features and specs:

Kindle 4 (mini)

Kindle 4 mini

Same 6″ screen, but no touch, no keyboard, only with page flipping buttons. Because of this the device is both very compact and inexpensive. It is 18 smaller than Kindle 3 and weights under 6 ounces. Priced at only $79 with Special Offers and $109 without and shipping today. The device is actually called just “Kindle”, with Kindle 3 being creatively renamed into “Kindle Keyboard”.

Specs and feature:

  • Latest generation eInk Pearl screen (600×800 16 grayscale) – same as Kindle 3
  • Size: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″
  • Weight: 5.98 oz. This is 2.5 ounces lighter than Kindle 3, and only 0.5 ounce more than Sony PRS-350
  • Storage: 2GB internal flash, with 1 1/4 GB available for user content
  • RAM: 512MB SDRAM memory
  • Battery: 1 month battery life
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g/n WiFi. No 3G option available at this time
  • Wired connectivity: micro-B USB 2.0 connector
  • Audio: headphone jack and built-in stereo speakers
  • Pricing:
  • Available: Can Order Now!

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire Tablet

Amazon’s entry into the tablet market, currently dominated by Apple iPad. Kindle Fire features:

  • 7-inch color backlit LCD display based on IPS technology that allows good viewing from wide range of angles
  • LCD is protected with extra-strong Gorilla-glass.
  • Dual core ARM CPU
  • Weighs 14.6 ounces
  • Runs heavily modified version of Android operating system

Kindle Fire will have direct and easy access to a broad range of content:

  • First and foremost – over 1,000,000 (and counting…) of Kindle eBooks
  • Color versions of newspapers and magazines
  • 100,000 movies and TV shows streaming from Amazon. 11,000 of these are available for free to Amazon Prime subscribers
  • 17 million DRM-free MP3 songs
  • Amazon’s own Android app store.

Kindle Fire seems to rely heavily on Amazon Cloud Storage.

Same WhisperSync technology that synchronizes book reading position across multiple devices now works with movies and TV shows – it automatically remembers last watched position. You can resume watching the movie on your TiVo or any other Amazon-connected streaming video device.

Touch UI supports swipe gestures to bring out extra controls, very similar to Windows 8 concept. It looks nothing like vanilla Android. Homescreen features 3D carousel of most recently accessed content regardless of it’s type: in the demo Angry Birds game is shown right next to the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine and Kindle eBooks. OS supports multitasking. So you can listen to music while you are reading a book. You can pin any kind of content (including a website bookmark) to your Home screen bookshelf. Full color magazine display seems to be much smoother than with original version of Nook Color.

Browser user interface has tabs at the top. Kindle Fire features Amazon Silk – “cloud based mobile browser”. The browser automatically off-loads part of the page parsing and rendering to Amazon EC2 servers, helping the mobile device to load desktop oriented websites heavy with dynamic content and javascript quickly.

Price point is $199 as was previously announced. This includes 30-day trial of Amazon Prime service that normally sells as $79/year subscription. Kindle Fire ships on November 15th, 2011 with pre-orders starting today.

Specs and features:

  • Screen: 7″ backlit IPS LCD with multi-touch and gestures. 1024 x 600 resolution with 24 bit color
  • Size: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″
  • Weight: 14.6 oz. This is 1.2 lighter than Nook Color
  • Storage: 8GB internal flash memory. No expansion slots (SD/MMC/etc) are available. It does however have access to Amazon Cloud Storage which is unlimited for Amazon content
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours on a single charge. Very similar to Nook Color. There is no cheating laws of physics there.
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g/n. No 3G option at this time
  • Wired connectivity: micro-B USB 2.0 connector
  • Audio: headphone jack and built-in stereo speakers
  • Data formats: on top of supporting the usual bunch that Kindle 3 supports, Kindle Fire adds native support for DOCX and a number of DRM-free audio-formats. Learn how to open DOCX file.
  • OS: heavily modified Android
  • Sensors: Accelerometer
  • Digital content:
    • 1,000,000+ in-copyright books. 800,000+ of these are priced at $9.99 or below. Millions more – out of copyright
    • 100,000+ movies and TV shows available for streaming
    • 1000s of Android apps. This is only a subset of what’s available for Android. On the other hand, acceptance criteria is much higher so overall app quality is much better than you average Android app. Nook, Kobo app availability… I’m guessing not.
    • 17,000,000+ DRM-free Mp3 songs from Amazon MP3 store
  • Email client that works with major providers like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Additional email support is available though apps that can be separately purchased.
  • One month trial of Amazon Prime.
  • Pricing: $199
  • Availability: Ships on November 15, 2011. Pre-orders available now.

Amazon Kindle Fire TV ad

Size comparison

I’ve added these new devices to the eReader Size Comparison page. So now you can visually compare how they stack.

  • Kindle Mini is smaller than Sony PRS-350 while featuring same buttons and screen size.
  • Kindle Touch is smaller than Nook Color again while featuring the same screen diagonal.

11 thoughts on “Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire – New Amazon devices announced…”

  1. These are great devices. Just hope everyone lays off the “ipad killer” references as none of these compete with the ipad as far as horsepower goes.

  2. What about a new Kindle DX!!!???

    I don’t want color or to play Angry Birds!!! I want eink with BETTER pdf support!!

  3. Gonzalo,

    +1 here. It looks like Amazon has neglected the DX eReader line for a while now. SInce it’s not coming out this holiday season, then perhaps Spring 2012?…

  4. Andrei,

    I really don’t know anymore. I lost my hope on a new DX. I will have to consider other big screen eReaders like the PocketBook or alike.

    Too bad Amazon doesn’t care for the academic public.

  5. I’m so disappointed by the lack of 3G on the Kindle Fire. I had my credit card in hand but once I read here that I decided that I’m going to stick with my 2nd gen Kindle 3G until I can get anywhere access.

  6. If I could get a DX with the updates software of the kindle 3 and wifi I would bbuy it immediately.

    the lack of a software update for the kindle 2 and kindle DX is very annoying, especially since there are third-party hacks that will let you copy the software from a kindle 3 to a 2 or DX.

    reading full page (or worse magazine size pages) on a 6″ screen just doesn’t work for me. the amount of scrolling that I have to do makes it impractical (especially with the pathentic speed of the pdf reader in the kindle 2/DX, but even with the better pdf reader in the kindle 3 it’s not fun)

  7. Kindle — Does one thing, and does it well: Allows you to read text comfortably. Not so great: Photos, graphical material, flipping through pages.

    Fire — Great graphics & speed. Text not as easy on the eyes as e-ink.

    Soo… Visualize a book-cover that holds both a Kindle and a Fire, side-by-side, or back-to-back. Both have Wi-Fi, and they are configured to talk to each other. I buy a book, and it is present on both. A synchronizing app gives me the ability to have the graphics – photos, maps, diagrams, charts, graphs, equations, whatever – presented on the Fire, the text on the Kindle. I touch the text, “See Figure 1” on the Kindle, and Figure 1 shows up on the Fire. Now when I’m reading the Saxon Chronicles, I can actually see the map showing me where Mercia and Wessex were!

    Likewise, if I am browsing the New York Times on my Fire, and come to a lengthy article I’d like to read, I can select it and send it to the Kindle side, as with the “Readability” app that is currently available.

    I can do most of this now (but not the “See Fig. 1” part), but wouldn’t it be great to have one app to sync the whole thing?

  8. Richard,

    Imagine amounts of data that KF will move around (movies, MP3). There is no way fixed $50 would have covered it. I imagine that second incarnation will have a 3G chip and ability to subscribe to monthly data plans like on iPad. Then again – maybe now. Only Jeff knows…

  9. Today, almost of the students are getting benefit from this web site and it could be more helpful for all the people. I would like to say thanks for given valuable article on here.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.