Amazon has posted their press conference video on YouTube and I have been going through it today. Compared to last year, the keynote address atmosphere was much more relaxed, yet the presentation was extremely focused. Applause lines were offered and accepted by the audience, whereas last year’s Kindles were announced in total, anti-climactic silence. It was much nicer to see Jeff Bezos proudly hold up his new devices to a chorus of applause, rather than the in a sterile blankness of camera shutter clicks we say last year. Amazon got ragged on a bit about this as tech bloggers compared their boisterous experiences at Apple keynotes with the deadpan Amazon Kindle 4/Touch/Fire release. Amazon and Bezos pay attention to small details like this, and, sure enough, the audience was clapping this time around.
There was a lot to cover in this press conference, and the massive amount of information and multiple devices left many live bloggers confused. I was tuning in to CNET’s video broadcast show, and both call in questioners and show hosts alike got specs confused. The Kindle Fire HD 7″ and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ both have different, high-resolution displays (1280 x 800 and 1920 x 1200 respectively), but some were mistakenly concerned that the 1920 x 1200 display would look better on the 7″ model because of its smaller screen size. This is just one little detail that got lost in the mix. There is an updated Kindle Fire (1st generation), the Kindle Fire HD (16 and 32 GB models), the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (16 and 32 GB models), the Kindle Fire HD 4G 8.9″ (32 and 64 GB models). That is just the tablets; the new Paperwhite Kindle (and Paperwhite 3G) has replaced the old Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G. The $79 Kindle has also been replaced by a very slightly upgraded $69 Kindle (no Paperwhite technology; still uses the 600 x 800 E Ink Pearl display, but has improved font rendering firmware). Whew. There’s all of the changes to the Kindle lineup.
Devices and prices:
$69 Kindle – $69
Kindle Paperwhite – $119 (with special offers) / $139 (without special offers)
Kindle Paperwhite 3G – $179 (with special offers) / $199 (without special offers)
Kindle Keyboard 3G – $139 (with special offers) / $159 (without special offers) – (Yes, they are still offering the old Kindle 3)
Kindle Fire – $159 (with improved speed, memory, and battery life)
Kindle Fire HD – $199 (16 GB) / $249 (32 GB)
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ – $299 (16 GB) / $369 (32 GB)
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE – $499 (32 GB) / $599 (64 GB) (plus $49.99/25o MB a month annual plan; comes with 20 GB of Cloud storage, plus a $10 Amazon Appstore credit)
The $10 Appstore credit seems like a weak attempt to copy Google’s $25 Play Store credit that came with Nexus 7 early orders.