At a press event in California, Amazon unveiled four new Kindle models, including upgraded versions of both its black-and-white e-ink readers and its popular Kindle Fire tablet. It also dropped the price of its lowest-end e-ink Kindle, and it just recently discontinued the original Kindle Fire, which means that unless you're buying refurbished you'll be choosing from an all-new lineup when you next go to purchase a Kindle.
So how much Kindle can you afford, and what other tablets could you get for the same price?
Black-and-white Kindle models
The most basic e-ink Kindle now has "improved fonts and 15% faster page turns," and has been dropped $10 in price to $69. That's with "special offers," however; an ad-free Kindle costs $89.
The new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader has a brighter and whiter screen, with better contrast between the page background and text and built-in front lighting that lets you read it in the dark -- no book light required. It's $119 ($139 without ads), or $179 for a Kindle Paperwhite with free 3G wireless Internet ($199, the cost of a Kindle Fire or Google Nexus 7, without ads).
New color Kindle models
The upgraded version of the basic Kindle Fire has "40 percent faster performance," according to Amazon's product page. It's also been dropped in price to $159, making it $20 cheaper than Barnes and Noble's 8 GB Nook Tablet model. On the downside, it now comes with ads like on the cheapest black-and-white Kindle models.
The new $199 Kindle Fire HD has a higher-resolution display than the original -- 1280x800 compared to 1024x600 on the original Kindle Fire. It also has 16 GB of flash memory, compared to 8 GB on last year's Kindle Fire, and a front-facing video camera that can be used to make calls with the Skype app. For the same price as Google's Nexus 7 tablet, it includes the same amount of memory and the same high-res display, although its processor isn't as powerful and it uses Amazon's online store instead of Google Play. The 32 GB model is $249.
The larger, 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD has a 1920x1200 display, putting it almost in the same category as the new iPad's 2048x1536 Retina Display. It costs $299 for the 16 GB model, or $369 for the 32 GB model. The version with 4G LTE wireless Internet starts at $499 for the 32 GB model (the same as a 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad), or $599 for the 64 GB model, and it costs only $50 on top of that for a whole year of wireless Internet, with 250 MB of wireless data per month. That's not enough to stream movies, especially not 1080p HD ones, but it's a fraction of the cost of having a 4G iPad; AT&T's 250 MB plan costs $15 a month, or $180 for a whole year. Three GB and 5 GB data plans are available for the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, but there's no word yet on pricing.
All Kindle Fire HD models feature advertisements on the lock screen and in the corner of the home screen, and there is no option to turn them off.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.