Amazon announces Kindle Fire HD, new Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite James Martin/CNET

Amazon announced Thursday the launch of the Kindle Fire HD, new Kindle Fire and Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos took the stage to introduce the Kinde Fire HD, Paperwhite and a stream of updated products. Bezos spoke about how the company has taken risks and emphasizing that the Kindle Fire is a service, not a gadget. The hardware, however, is a critical part of the service.

The new Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch display model and features 1,920 x 1,200 resolution with 254 pixels-per-inch, dual Dolby digital plus speakers, Wi-Fi connectivity,  camera and 25 percent less glare than the Kindle Fire.

The 16 gigabyte 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will retail for $199 and ships on Sept. 14. The 16 gigabyte 8.9-inch model will retail for $299 and ships on Nov. 20.

Bezos also introduced a 32 gigabyte 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE connectivity. The tablet comes with a $50 per year plan that allows for 250 megabytes of data per month. The top Kindle Fire HD model will retail for $99 and ships on Nov. 20.

A feature called Whispersync with Voice was also announced. The feature syncs audiobooks with e-books, so that you can listen to a book, walk away and then pick it up to read later.

The Kindle Paperwhite has 62 percent more pixels than previous Kindles, with 212 pixels-per-inch. The light technology behind the Paperwhite is unique. Instead of the light pointing outward, it goes down - making it easier to read in daylight. A cool new feature called Time to Read tracks how much time it takes you to read a chapter or book and calculates average reading time.

The Kindle Paperwhite is retail for $119 and a 3G version of the device will retail for $179. Both will ship on Oct. 1.

Bezos also announced an updated Kindle Fire for $159 and a cheaper $69 Kindle. Both will ship on Sept. 14. Bezos also announced the Kindle Series, a service which lets customers buy once and get an entire series. Alternately, you can subscribe to an author's serial.

The Kindle Fire is widely regarded as a huge success for the retail giant. Last month, Amazon announced that the popular tablet sold out. The company did not specify how many Kindle Fires have sold, but it said the tablet made up 22 percent of the U.S. tablet sales in a nine month period.

The Associated Press estimates the Kindle Fire sold about 5 million units, if sales are calculated using Apple iPad numbers.

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