Today in Tech

Amazon debuts new Kindle Fire HD tablets, and Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

Today in Tech

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The web's largest retailer shows off its new hardware

At an event held in Santa Monica today, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos took the stage to officially debut the company's brand new Kindles. First up was the bread and butter of the Kindle namesake: the e-reader.

Kindle Paperwhite

Enter the all-new Kindle Paperwhite — an e-reader that features a patented lighting technology which is the first of its kind. The Paperwhite weighs just 7.5 ounces and measures a skinny 9.1mm in thickness. The battery life clocks in at a very impressive 8 weeks, even with the light turned on. The backlight can be adjusted to fit the ambient light in the room.

Aside from the new backlight, the screen itself is sharper than current Kindle models, featuring 62% more pixels. This allows additional small touches to be added to the display, including a new feature that tells the reader how much time is left in the book or current chapter.

The Paperwhite comes in wifi and 3G enabled flavors. The wifi-only version carries a modest $119 price tag, while the 3G model will sell for $179. You can place an order today, and the readers will begin shipping on October 1. The current base model of the Kindle — now with an updated, sharper display, but no backlight — will begin shipping on September 14 for $69.

Kindle Fire HD

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Kindle Fire HD

But it's not just e-readers the company has become well known for over the past year or so — the Kindle Fire made a huge splash as the first true Amazon tablet, and it was just begging for a big brother. Make way for the new Kindle Fire HD tablets — a 7-inch model and an 8.9-inch tablet with an ultra-sharp 1920 by 1200 pixel display. For video chat, the HD models come with front-facing hi-res cameras — another first for the line.

The new Fire HD line features a tweaked display which eliminates the air gap between the actual screen and the top of the glass display, which Amazon claims will kill 25% of the glare you normally see off of your tablet. It also comes with stereo speakers.

The Fire HD slates feature all-new parental control options called Kindle FreeTime, which allows parents to set limits for various types of content. For example, you can specify that the tablet is only to be used for 30 minutes of games, but can be used an unlimited amount for reading books.

The smaller, 7-inch Fire HD will sell for $199 and ships September 14. The 8.9-inch model is priced at $299 and begins shipping November 20. Both tablets come with 16GB of storage, with 32GB versions retailing for $249 and $369, respectively.

But Amazon wasn't done. Just to throw its hat into the 4G ring, the company also announced a 32GB Fire HD model with built-in 4G LTE connectivity. The tablet will begin shipping on November 20 for $499. A 64GB version will also be available for $599. Those interested in this premium model will be able to take advantage of Amazon's data plan which includes 250mb of data per month and 20GB of Amazon cloud storage for $49 per year.

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Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE

The company has also taken the original Kindle Fire model and supercharged it. The new base model of the Kindle Fire retains the same form factor as the original, but now features longer battery life and 40% faster performance thanks to an upgraded processor. The new model will begin shipping on September 14 for $159.

Don't miss our gallery of the all-new Kindle Fire family.

This article was written by Mike Wehner and originally appeared on Tecca

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