It’s easiest to go down the list.
Kindle Paperwhite is a strange name but the device looks great. In practice, it’s an upgraded touch model which as far as I know, lacks the page-turning buttons – I still feel like that’s a bad idea, but it will depend on the bezel. The Paperwhite version cuts out the pricing scheme a little better than last year. At $119 for just wifi and $179 for included 3G, it’s simple.
Paperwhite? I still don’t get the point of that distinction.
Just Kindle now, apparently. I held a Kindle from last year — the one without touch and the one with ruined buttons as compared to that of the Kindle keyboard. It’s easier to press in the page-turn buttons on the keyboard model than on the newer varieties because the button also overlapped the bezel which is where fingers would naturally rest.
Last year the Kindle was $79 with ads, now it’s $69 with ads. That’s even more alluring for people that can’t afford the higher end Paperwhite model.
So it’s come to this. The Kindle Fire last year was groundbreaking with price and a lackluster joke with hardware and software. This time, at least the hardware so far is decent but not revolutionary.
So let’s break this down since there are now more Kindle Fires than there are just e-ink Kindles. I’m saying all of this based on sparse information delivered to me via Amazon’s own website.
- Kindle Fire — basically last year’s model with a tweaked OS and only $159
- Kindle Fire HD — featuring high resolution (1280×800) 7-inch screen with reduced glare, stereo audio, a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP processor, enhanced wifi (allegedly), and front-facing camera; for $199 with 16GB or $249 for 32GB
- Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ — all of the above features of the Fire HD, but with an 8.9-inch and 1920×1200 resolution, 1.5GHz OMAP processor; for $299 with 16GB and $369 for 32GB (which is an odd price jump)
- Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless — a joke of a device name, but seriously with all the goodies of the Fire HD 8.9-inch but with a 4G radio presumably supported by AT&T’s network; for $499 for 32GB and $599 for 64GB
- Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless with a Monkey — just kidding.
There isn’t really a hardware difference between the 4G and non-4G version of the Fire HD 8.9″ model except the radio which definitely does not cost an extra $130. Well, except that it does, I mean, look at the iPad’s 4G price difference: it’s $150. So while Amazon, I mean, Bezos, tried to sound cost conscience, the words really make no difference. That’s the same price hike. But the real gift is in the price of service — only $50. That’s great.
We’ll see how those sell. The service only gets you a mere 250 MB and any meaningful surfing over a month will eat through that quick – no movies or music either.
So that’s the Amazon event. I thought I might a $199 7-inch Kindle Fire for a few minutes today. I quickly changed my mind. Why? Because, it’s not stock Android, I would be tied to Amazon forever, and I haven’t seen an iPad mini yet.