Amazon Announces New Kindles, Snubs Smartphone Rumors

Amazon announced its new Kindle updates today, including the Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE.

The Kindle Fire HD is an upgraded version of the original Kindle Fire, which is now 40 percent faster, includes double the RAM and has a longer battery life. This model is available as a 7-inch tablet for $199 or 8.9-inch for $299.

Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite features a new backlight and better resolution than previous Kindles. This device also has eight weeks of battery life, according to Amazon, and will be available for $119 when purchasing the Wi-Fi version. A 3G version of the Kindle Paperwhite will also be available for $179.

The Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE includes a wireless modem engineered by Amazon with 32GB of storage. This 8.9-inch device will sell for $499 with a $50 annual plan, which includes 250MB per month and 20GB of cloud storage.

“Amazon is clearly spooked by Googles Nexus 7 coming in at $200 for a much more capable device,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, ”and its upped its own hardware specs while reducing the price to $159, which is clearly an attempt to keep it somewhat attractive in the face of that new competition from Google and Asus.”

In the pure e-reader space, Dawson noted that Amazon is “the clear leader,” calling the $69 price for the basic Kindle “unbeatable.”

It was widely expected that Amazon would use its media event today to introduce its first smartphone, but those rumors at least for now prove to be nothing more than speculation.

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