Amazon unveiled its next-generation Kindle Fire at a press event Thursday in California alongside a fresh Paperwhite e-reader. Referred to as the Kindle Fire HD, the device boasts visual upgrades, a faster processor and longer lasting battery than its predecessor.
The keynote opened with a TV advertisement that was shown a day before the event. The commercial showcased an e-reader matching previous alleged leaks of the new Paperwhite device and what was believed to be the next iteration of the Kindle Fire.
Some expected the Kindle Fire sequel, officially called "Kindle Fire HD," to come with a 7-inch display just like competitor Google's Nexus 7, but Amazon's new tablet will actually feature a larger 8.9-inch screen. It will come with double the RAM of its predecessor, making it 40 percent faster than the Kindle Fire, and boasts a longer battery life. Physically, the tablet measures at 8.8 mm thin and 20 ounces.
The 8.9-inch display is getting a noteworthy upgrade from its predecessor, with a 1920 X 1200 resolution and an IPS display. A laminated touch sensor on the top of the display gives the screen 25 percent less glare.
The tablet also comes with dual stereo speakers and Dolby digital plus. This is the first tablet to feature this sound quality, and the Kindle Fire HD will also place more emphasis on Wi-Fi. A new MIMO feature will help the Kindle Fire DS' Wi-Fi, and the device will use two antennas and a dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This can be up to 40 percent faster Internet speeds.
Kindle Fire starts at 16GB and Amazon is adding 100,000 Audiobooks to the Kindle Fire HD with Whispersync for Voice. This syncs up audiobooks with your books. Users can listen to books in a car and then pick up right where they left off when returning home.
Amazon also introduced X-Ray for movies, which shows viewers more information about actors in any given film. There is also Whispersync for Games, which lets players pick up from where they left off in any game.
The Kindle Fire HD will come equipped with a new e-mail app, a custom Facebook app, Skype for the front-facing camera and a feature for kids. Kindle Free Time sets Time Limits for children. There are separate time limits available for different content, books, videos and games.
The official release date for the Kindle Fire HD is Sept. 14 with a price of $159. That's about $40 cheaper than the Nexus 7.
Although information about what was believed to be called the Kindle Fire 2 had leaked beforehand, some speculations have been proven inaccurate. Rumors said that the Kindle Fire 2 would come in both 7-inch and 10-inch versions with an improved Kindle Touch. The screen resolution is expected to get an increase from 1024 x 600 pixels to 1280 x 800.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...