TechieTalk: New Amazon Hardware Unleashed

By Roy Mathur, on 2012-09-10, for The Independent Daily, Mauritius (in which an edited version appeared)

Jeff Bezos Holding Kindle HD

Greetings readers. This week you can expect a tiny bit less cynicism from me because I'm just too sick to summon up the energy. As you probably already know by now, Amazon has unleashed a whole raft of new tablets and eReaders at a press conference hosted by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Santa Monica, California last week.

So instead of me whining about everything that's wrong in the world of tech, today we'll look at the veritable cornucopia of cunningly forged tech that has emerged from the dwarf forges of Amazon at the time of writing this article.

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is the new version of the Kindle Touch. It uses a new E Ink technology that Amazon has dubbed "Paperwhite". This produces a higher resolution (1024x768) and a higher contrast, capacitive touch-screen, beating the capabilities of the Pearl E Ink technology used before.

Other changes include the removal of the Home button and a darker casing. More interestingly, Amazon have finally seen fit to include a light for low-light conditions. That means no more nonsensical and inelegant Heath Robinson solutions will be necessary, such as those needlessly expensive third-party Kindle cases with a built-in book light.

Kindle Fire 2 and Fire HD 7 and 8.9

The old Kindle Fire has been updated with more memory, but there are also two new Fire HD models added to the range. There is a smaller Fire HD with a 7 inch screen and one with a 8.9 inch screen. Both have higher contrast, resolution and less glare than the original. They are also faster and have better WiFi reception thanks to twin aerials. The home button is now at the top and there are also volume control buttons.

Amazon's heavily modified Android is still present, but re-tweaked for even greater usability. The Fire HDs will be available with 16GB or 32GB of storage. There will also be special (and very expensive) 32GB and 64GB models with 4G LTE.

Availability and Pricing

The new Kindle Paperwhite will cost 119 dollars and the 3G Paperwhite- 179 dollars. It will be available from the beginning of October in the US.

The Fire HD's pricing will range between 199 and 599 dollars in the US. Due to Amazon's peculiar distribution model it is difficult to predict when these tablets will become available. Although the 7 inch Fire HD is available in the US already, there is no news on a date when Mauritians will be able to buy the updated tablets via Amazon's online store as many of the new devices will not even reach Europe until late October and early November.