Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 ships today, earlier than planned

Amazon's new device originally was slated to hit the market November 20. It starts at $299.

The 8.9-inch version of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD ships today, arriving a little earlier than the company originally said and hitting the market in time for the key holiday-shopping season.

The device, originally slated to ship November 20, starts at $299. The 8.9-inch model with 4G LTE capabilities will ship next week, Amazon said. That version is available with a 4G LTE data package that costs $49.99 for the first year.

Customers can order their Kindle Fire through Amazon's site or buy it at Best Buy starting tomorrow. It will also be available at other retailers such as Staples and RadioShack in the coming weeks.

"Kindle Fire HD has been Amazon's best-selling product worldwide since launch, and that was before we even started shipping the best tablet we've ever built," Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle, said in a press release. "With the holiday season upon us, we're excited to make our $299 Kindle Fire HD 8.9" available early.

Amazon in September unveiled three new models of its popular tablet that it hopes will pose a bigger threat to Apple's popular iPad. Amazon doesn't make as much money from its tablets as some other device makers but instead counts on customers to buy and stream content from Amazon through the product. Few tablets have been able to truly rival the iPad in terms of popularity, but the Kindle Fire, with its low price, is one that has seen strong demand.

The 8.9-inch model features a 1,920x1,200 HD display with 254ppi, as well as a front-facing HD camera for taking photos or making video calls. It also has dual stereo speakers and gets about 10 hours of battery life, according to Amazon's specs.

The LTE versions offers an LTE data package from AT&T that includes 250MB a session of data, a $10 Amazon Appstore for Android credit and 20GB of Amazon CloudDrive, all for a one-time payment of only $49.99. There are no monthly fees or annual contracts, though the $49.99 package is only available for the first year of service. Customers can upgrade to 3GB or 5GB data plans from AT&T directly from the device.

 

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