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Amazon lights a new Fire under iPad
Amazon unveiled several new Kindles on Thursday. Here's the quick breakdown with links to the full first-take reviews:
• The new Kindle Fire HD comes in three flavors. There's a 7-inch model with 16 GB of memory for $199, and it ships Sept. 14. Coming out late November is a larger 8.9-inch model with 16GB of memory, selling for $299. If you want double that memory and the option for 4G LTE wireless, that'll cost $499 -- the same as a new iPad.
• That 4G LTE wireless is not included in the $499 model. It'll cost $49.99 a year to use 250MB of data every month. But Amazon also throws in 20GB of cloud storage and $10 of app store credit.
• Hardware improvements on the Fire HD include a better screen with less glare, a front-facing camera, Bluetooth connection, HDMI out, improved audio and better Wi-Fi reception.
• New software features for Fire HD include Whispersync for audio books and games, a new e-mail app that puts emphasis on corporate e-mail, and an app that will help parents set time limits for how long kids can use it.
• The Kindle Paperwhite is a new addition to the e-ink family. The screen lights up so you can read in the dark. Paperwhite ships Oct. 1 starting at $119. It's priced slightly cheaper than the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which came out earlier this year.
• Paperwhite's battery will last 8 weeks with the light on, it's slightly thinner than the Kindle Touch and there's a new feature called Time to Read, which tracks your reading speed and estimates when you'll be finished with an e-book.
But it's not just Amazon making e-reader news. The Kobo brand also announced new models, and it too is getting in the light-up game. The Kobo Glow will sell for $130 in October. It's a little more expensive than the Kindle Paperwhite, so expect that price to drop. Kobo also came out with a 5-inch Mini e-reader model as well as the Kobo Arc, a 7-inch Android-based tablet. The Arc's specs are similar to Google's Nexus 7 tablet, and it's priced at $200 for 8GB of memory. Expect Kobo to also drop that price to compete with Amazon's latest Fire tablets.
And if you're looking for Droids, Motorola just showed off three new Razr smartphones for Verizon that will run latest Android operating system, Jelly Bean. There's the Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD, which have improved battery life. And there's also the Razr M, the smaller of the bunch, but its $99 pricetag could make it a hot buy this holiday.