Despite the widely accepted public knowledge before the big reveal today (including pre-announcement photos on TechCrunch), Amazon managed to pull of a Steve Jobs type “one more thing” this morning by announcing not just one but four new Kindle models and a new web browser that uses its own considerable cloud services.
Introducing the All-New Kindle Family: Four New Kindles, Four Amazing Price Points
The previous (and still current) Kindle models are now referred to as Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Keyboard 3G.
The four new Kindle models,which will be available in November in the U.S., are:
1. $79 Kindle with a 6-inch e-ink display, WiFi, no physical keyboard and minimal buttons. It is 30% lighter than previous Kindle model.
2. $99 Kindle Touch with a 6-inch e-ink touch screen display, WiFi and no keyboard or buttons. It is 8% lighter than the previous Kindle model. The $99 model comes with advertising. A $139 model without Amazon’s minimal advertising will also be available.
3. $149 Kindle Touch 3G has the same configuration as the $99 Kindle Touch and adds 3G wireless data to the mix. The $149 model includes advertising. A $189 model without advertising is also available.
4. $199 Kindle Fire is the much anticipated Amazon Android tablet with a 1024×600 color touch display, 8GB storage, 8 hours of battery when reading ebooks or 7.5 hours of continous video playback. As expected, it has a completely different graphical interface compared to conventional Android tablets running Honeycomb or older Android OS releases. It also includes free cloud storage for books, movies, music and apps. Music streaming from Amazon Cloud Drive is available as part of this cloud package. And, Amazon’s WhisperSync can now synchronize video viewing positions as well as book page positions. While Amazon’s apparently non-Google licensed Android does not include the “Google-y” bits that licensed devices has, it has apps for functions like email.
My predicition is that the biggest tablet purchase for the holiday buying season will be the Kindle Fire.