Amazon is the only other company in the world that has a great ecosystem that might be able to compete with Apple’s. The Kindle Fire was a cute little tablet, but it definitely wasn’t an iPad Killer or even an iPad Competitor, but Amazon is looking to change that with the Kindle Fire HD.
The Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s biggest tablet to-date with 16GB of storage and both 7-inch and 8.9-inch display models with a high definition display that uses a 1920×1200 resolution at 254ppi. Not quite as high as the new iPad’s but it’s pretty damn close. Amazon is also touting the “Advanced True Wide Polarizing Filter” and “Omni-Directional, full spectrum color” which basically means the screen looks good at almost any angle.
Amazon has also worked out a way to get 25% less glare out of their displays by removing the air gap between the LCD surface and the touch screen. No air gap means a sharper, cleaner image which is great when you’re using your Kindle in the outdoors, but if you want to use it indoors and pump video to your HDTV over HDMI, you can do that too.
What Amazon needs the most to compete with the iPad though is great content and Amazon already has a couple of HD apps ready to go for the Kindle Fire HD. They’re using an OMAP 4470 processor from Texas Instuments to power their new tablet. They say their processor is 50% faster than the Tegra 3 that is used in most tablets.
Rather than just having one speaker pumping out mono sound like the iPad, the Kindle Fire HD has dual stereo speakers that use Dolby Digital Plus. Bezos also took some time to point out that the Kindle Fire HD has two antennas while the iPad only has one.
As far as software goes, the Kindle Fire HD comes with a new feature X-Ray for Movies, where you can be watching a movie and ask, “who the hell is that guy?” tap on their face, and IMDB will show you all the movies they’ve been in. There’s a new feature called Whispersync for voice so you can listen to your Kindle books and read them in tandem.
Email has been updated to be speedier along with improved access syncing with Hotmail, GMail, and Yahoo!. Custom Facebook and Skype applications are also available for the Kindle Fire HD. Amazon even thought of proper parenting tactics for tablets and created Kindle FreeTime that allows parents to set limits on how much time children can spend reading, watching videos, or using apps.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will ship on September 14th and cost $199, while the 8.9-inch unit won’t ship until November 20th for $299, which might be after the iPad Mini launches for about the same price. Oh yeah, and if you really want 32Gb of storage and LTE you can buy the Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE for $499.