At last, the main event for today. The Kindle Fire HD has just been announced, rightfully taking its place as the rumored new Kindle Fire which does seem to flirt with iPad-like sizes as well. We are looking at an 8.8mm thin device that tips the scales at just 20 ounces, sporting an 8.9″ IPS (In Plane Switching) display at a whopping 1920 x 1200 resolution at 254PPI. There is also a 7″ display model for the Kindle Fire HD if that suits your lifestyle and budget.
The Kindle Fire HD will have an OMAP4470 processor to run proceedings from underneath the hood, where it is accompanied by dual stereo speakers for your ears’ enjoyment, not to mention having the distinction of being the first tablet to boast of Dolby Digital Plus support.
In terms of Wi-Fi connectivity, the Kindle Fire HD will carry a couple of antennas – the overcrowded 2.4GHz crowd, and also play nice with the 5GHz spectrum. For the record, dual band Wi-Fi can also be found in the new iPad, although the Kindle Fire HD has two antennas as opposed to the new iPad’s one. As for the Google Nexus 7, let’s just say it is nowhere close the Kindle Fire HD in this department. There is also a MIMO feature which in theory, allows the Kindle Fire HD to download data faster compared to its competitors – up to 40% according to Amazon, so we will take their word at that for the moment. Apart from Wi-Fi, there is also HDMI Out and Bluetooth connectivity thrown into the mix.
As for storage, the Kindle Fire HD will open its hand at 16GB. Not only that, 100,000 Audiobooks will be added to the Kindle Fire HD to get you started right out of the box. Whispersync for Voice was also demonstrated, where it can also synchronize audiobooks with your books, allowing you to listen wherever you are, and continuing where you left off in the audiobook – albeit in the e-book format at a later period. Don’t you think that this is totally neat? Whispersync for Games does the same, too, letting you continue the game from where you last left off.
A new e-mail app is introduced for the Kindle Fire HD, where it offers world-class Exchange support, improved synchronization reliability, the ability to synchronize contacts, calendars, Gmail, Hotmail and Yhaoo accounts, the works!
On the social networking front, Facebook will carry a custom app, and those who love to carry out video calls and capture vanity shots will love the fact that the Kindle Fire HD comes with a front-facing camera.
If you have kids who cannot seem to let go of your tablet, the Kindle Fire HD comes with the ability for you to set time limits for kids, where separate time limits are applicable for various content, books, videos and games. A digital nanny, if you will. This feature is known as Kindle FreeTime.
X-Ray for Movies was demonstrated, where you can pause anytime in the middle of a movie on the Kindle Fire HD and check up meta data on the actor/actress thanks to IMDB, and trivia buffs might find that the constant self-interruption could lead to stretching the movie’s viewing time by a whole lot.
So far, initial impressions and a live demonstration of the Kindle Fire HD’s interface proved to be smooth as butter, and hopefully, the on-screen experience will be translated to the end user without a hitch along the way.
The Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″ models will retail for $199 and $299, respectively, with the former shipping from September 14th onwards while the latter will see a November 20th release date. Being competitively priced, the Nexus 7 is definitely going to have a hard time now, and the Kindle Fire HD might just have enough in its tank to fend off any mythical iPad mini (as at press time, anyways).