Kindle Family Is Branching Out, Big Time

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Kindle Family Is Branching Out, Big Time

With the Sept. 6 addition of three different-sized and different-purposed tablet PCs, Amazon now has five devices from which buyers can choose as alternatives to competitors from Apple, Google, Motorola, Asus, RIM and many others.

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Frontlit Display for New Paperwhite Device

Many Kindle users were frustrated that their devices weren't the best to read in bed at night. Amazon claims to have solved this issue with the frontlit Paperwhite e-reader, which will retail for $69. The engineering on this is impressive.

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Immersion Reading for Eyes and Ears

For users of e-readers who would like to have the book read to them while they are reading it—or if they just want the book read to them while they relax and close their eyes—Amazon is providing professional narration with synchronized, real-time phrase highlighting.

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Sleek Design for All Three Tablets

Apple is probably watching pretty closely to see if Amazon went the way of Samsung, after a court recently found that Samsung had violated design and function copyrights owned by Apple in some of its smartphones and tablet PCs. The Amazon devices are sleek-looking but resemble many other tablets currently on the market.

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Multiple Profiles

Amazon has enabled multiple profiles on its new devices, similar to the convention of laptop and desktop PCs. The security software keeps each user's information private at all times yet allows more than one user at any given time. More details: Kindle Fire HD starts with 16GB of local storage, enough to accommodate the larger file sizes of HD content. In addition, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD gets 11 hours of battery life, Amazon said.

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Forward-Facing Camera for Skype Sessions

The Amazon Kindle HD features customized high-definition integration that enables smooth streaming video for Skype sessions. This Kindle has become a true full-service tablet, similar to the iPad, Nexus 7 and Galaxy. The sound has been improved, also: Kindle HD features dual stereo speakers and Dolby Audio. Kindle HD also supports Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity.

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X-Ray for Movies

A year ago, Amazon introduced X-Ray on Kindle Touch. Amazon is extending X-Ray to books and movies on Kindle Fire. Without leaving the movie, customers can look up any actor in the scene or movie, see what other movies the actor has been in, and view photos, biographies and more. X-Ray is offered only by Amazon and is exclusive to the Amazon ecosystem.

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New 4G LTE Connectivity Package

The Kindle Fire HD comes with the 4G tablet data package. Customers will have access to a 12-month data plan with 250MB per month, 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore for a one-time cost of $49.99. Customers also can also choose to upgrade to 3GB or 5GB data plans from AT&T directly from the device.Â

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Cost Structures: iPad and Kindle HD, Side by Side

The numbers are quite apparent here for purchasing an iPad vs. a Kindle HD. Amazon is committed to supplying the same or improved functionality at about half the cost, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said.

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Features: iPad, Nexus 7 and Kindle HD, Side by Side

Again, the information in this slide speaks for itself. A small number of high-end laptops incorporate MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output), and Kindle Fire HD is the first tablet ever to do so.

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Bezos in His Moment of Glory

Amazon hasn't had quite as many product launches as competitors such as Apple, Google and Samsung, so Bezos appeared to enjoy his hour in the spotlight at the launch event.

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