So, yeah, Amazon has a few new Kindles out. Make that more than a few. Jeff Bezos & Co. have announced four distinct new slates, including one e-reader. Each of them is available for pre-order in multiple variants and scheduled to ship next month. There's even an updated version of Amazon's Android-based Fire OS software to go with everything.
The most interesting of these arrivals might be the new Kindle Fire HD, which starts at only $99 for a 6" tablet with a 1280x800 screen, a quad-core processor clocked at up to 1.5GHz, 8GB of storage, and front and rear cameras. That's got to be some kind of value record for an Android slate. A larger 7" version of the Fire HD is also on offer for $139, and both variants can be ordered in any one of the five colors pictured above.
The Kindle Fire HD is also available as a Kids Edition with a child-friendly case and a two-year "worry-free guarantee." The guarantee terms sound pretty generous: "[I]f they break it, we'll replace it. No questions asked." The Kids Edition also comes with a one-year Amazon FreeTime Unlimited subscription, which provides "unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost." Pricing is a little steeper, though, at $149 for the 6" device and $189 for 7" one.
Then there's the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9", which cranks up the screen resolution to 2560x1600 for a razor-sharp 339 PPI. Priced at $379, this tablet also includes a 2.5GHz quad-core SoC (which, Amazon says, has 70% higher graphics performance than in the last model), 16GB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and up to 12 hours of battery life. Other perks include Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers (which Amazon claims to be "twice as loud" as those in the iPad Air) and Dynamic Light Control, a feature that changes the screen's white point depending on ambient lighting. The new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" is pretty thin and light, too, at 0.3" and 13.2 oz.
All of these fourth-gen Kindles come with Fire OS 4, an updated version of Amazon's customized Android operating system. Fire OS 4 is based on Android 4.4 KitKat and delivers an updated look and feel as well as a handful of new features. Multiple users can now share a device, each with their own settings, saved games, e-mail, and social media accounts; and family members can share apps and content, as well.
Amazon plans to make Fire OS 4 available on third-gen Kindle Fire tablets in addition to the crop of new devices.
Finally, Amazon has unveiled the Kindle Voyage, its latest and most advanced e-reader. The Voyage has a 300-ppi screen clad in "strengthened glass" that's "micro-etched" to reduce glare. The screen's front lighting adapts to environmental luminosity and, at its maximum setting, pumps out 39% more brightness than last year's Kindle Paperwhite. Both sides of the front bezel have pressure-sensitive areas for page turns, which should make one-handed reading more comfortable. And the Kindle Voyage is thinner and lighter than the old Paperwhite, at 0.3" and 6.4 oz.
The only downside is the price: $199, an $80 premium over the Paperwhite—and that's with "special offers" and no 3G connectivity. The ad-free, 3G-enabled version of the Voyage costs $289. That's pretty darned expensive for an e-reader—but then again, it's hard to beat the Voyage's high-density display and six-week battery life.