New Kindle Tablets

Amazon today announced their new Kindle tablet line, with upgraded B&W readers and color tablets. The all-new Kindle B&W e-reader family include a regular 6″ Kindle for $69, a $119 Kindle Paperwhite, and a 6″ Kindle Paperwhite with 3G connectivity for $179.

Amazon’s new color tablets include the 7-inch Kindle Fire with 1024×600 pixel resolution for $159, a 7″ Fire HD with 1280×800 pixel resolution for $199, a Kindle Fire HD with an 8.9″ display, featuring 1920×1200 pixels for $299, and the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD with LTE for $499.

The event kicked off at 10:30 PT today. C/Net, PC Magazine, NY Times, Engadget, USA Today and The Verge, among others, covered it live.

Less than one year ago, Amazon introduced the original Kindle Fire, which quickly became the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon.com. According to Amazon, in nine months, Kindle Fire captured 22% of tablet sales in the U.S.

Amazon’s new e-reader tablets include the new Paper White e-ink ereader, which is 9.1 mm thin and has a touch screen. Amazon “invented a new display” that is said to have 25 percent more contrast and 212 ppi, 62 percent more pixels. It’s $119, with the 3G version $179. You can pre-order today and it ships October 1st.

Kindle Serials was announced. Buy it once and you get all the installments. The installments are appended to the older ones. And there’s a discussion element. They’re all $1.99 for all the episodes. Amazon is doing the Pickwick Club and Oliver Twist for free.

A smaller ereader, similar to last year’s $79 Kindle, is called “The $69 Kindle.” It ships September 14th.

Amazon’s new 7-inch Kindle Fire has 1024×600 resolution, twice the RAM (8 GB), faster Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4430 processor, longer battery life. Ships September 14th and costs $159, $40 less than the original Kindle Fire.

The 7″ Fire HD has higher (1280×800 pixel) resolution, a Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4460, 16GB of memory and costs $199.

Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD features a 1920×1200 HD display, a Dual-core, 1.5GHz OMAP4470 with PowerVR 3D graphics, dual band WiFi and 16GB of local storage.

PC Magazine compared specs on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ vs. Apple iPad.

Kindle Fire HD uses a TI OMAP 4470 (pdf), which Bezos says is better than the Tegra. It also has Dolby Digital Plus — the first tablet with that technology.

The Kindle Fire HD has two WiFi antennas, to cut down on interference, with MIMO and 5 GHz.

Amazon’s $499 LTE version will have a $50 yearly data plan with access to 250MB of data every month.

Amazon’s $50 data plan is significantly cheaper than comparable tablets using wireless providers. AT&T provides the LTE coverage, and those out of range of AT&T’s limited LTE footprint will use AT&T’s HSDPA network. The Kindle’s LTE modem supports 10-bands, with HSPA+, HSDPA, and EDGE/GPRS fallback. That’s a lot of bands.

Texas Instruments works with LTE modems from Renesas (MP5232) and STEricsson. It’s not immediately apparent what LTE modem the new Kindle is using.

Meanwhile today, Kobo announced 3 new readers, the $79 Mini ereader, a $129 Glo E-Reader, and took on Amazon with an Android-Powered Arc Tablet, notes TechCrunch. The Kobo Arc will be available this November, starting at $199.99 (8G) and $249.99 (16G). The $200 Arc runs Android 4, and will be upgraded to Jelly Bean.

The Arc has a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 7-inch IPS display running at 1280 x 800, and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

It has access over 600,000 apps through Google Play as well as pre-loaded Google apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps.

The Arc features Skype video chat, with built in mic, 720p HD resolution and 215ppi. It will be available in both 8GB ($199) and 16GB ($249) variations this November.

The TI OMAP 4470 packs a lot of punch and is the same processor used in the new high end 8.9 inch color tablets from Amazon, also introduced today.

The Kobo Arc runs on Android 4.0 with access to Google Play apps, but it does not give you the vanilla Android experience. Instead, a feature called Tapestry is geared towards using the tablet for reading. Kobo, which used to be part of Borders Books, runs one of the largest eBookstores, with nearly 3 million eBooks, 1 million of which are free. Presumably, it will also run the Kindle App, with access to Amazon ebooks.

CNET breaks down the key differences between the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the $199 Google Nexus 7.

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG), the leading U.S. book trade association for standardized best practices, endorsed EPUB 3 as the “accepted and preferred format” for Web Standards-based digital content. The announcement noted that their endorsment “addresses the critical need for the global book publishing industry to rally around a single standard… in order to impede … fragmentation”.

Amazon has traditionally resisted the EPUB standard, unlike the Kobos tablet. The new Amazon tablets introduced today don’t appear to support EPub-3, either. Instead, Amazon’s new Kindle supports their own proprietary format (AZW), in addition to TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible Enhanced format (AAX), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, PCM/WAVE, OGG, WAV, MP4, AAC LC/LTP, HE-AACv1, HE-AACv2, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, HTML5, CSS3, MP4, 3GP, VP8(.webm).

Here is a comparison chart of royalties paid to self-published authors by the major ebook stores, compiled by publishyourownebooks.com.

The Association of American Publishers says eBooks — as a format — outsold hardcovers and mass market paperbacks for adult fiction and non-fiction. While eBooks didn’t quite outpace adult trade paperbacks or any paper formats combined, it was the first time the eBook format beat hardcover.

According to a July report by BookStats, revenue from ebooks more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, and e-books are now the dominant format in terms of net revenue – surpassing print.

NPD Display Search forecasts huge tablet gains that will suck sales away from PCs over the next five years.

The analyst firm says that tablet shipments will exceed laptops by 2016.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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