Friday, September 19, 2014

Amazon's NEW lineup of e-Readers and Kindle Fire Tablets - First Quick Look 9/17/14 - Updated 9/19 to include Tablet Comparison Table, Trade-in your Kindle page, and more basic information

NEW AMAZON LINEUP, with new Kindle eReaders and UltraFast Fire Tablets
The new lineup of tablets and an ereader was announced Sept. 17, so this was a very quick announcement that night -- details are still being explored for the blog entry I'm working on to expand on the differences.

  Here's a quick-chart of current Kindles, globally.
     Added links to new pages for UK Kindles 9/21/14.

  The new models are ultra-fast versions of Fire tablets + a unique, hardy model specifically for "kids," as well as a new higher-resolution and brighter e-Ink Paperwhite Voyage reader with more contrast and also a new basic low-cost Kindle eReader that's now touch-based for easier navigation.

Originally posted 8:57pm Sept. 17 - Updated Sept. 19

For those who want to just read
KINDLE E-Ink Readers 2014 - Kindle Voyage and new basic Kindle 2014
Amazon's press release blurb includes these descriptions:
"The new Kindle Voyage, our thinnest, most advanced Kindle ever, with our brightest, highest resolution, and highest contrast display, plus reimagined page turns - $199"

  [AB-Note: The 'reimagined' page turns can be activated by pressing on the bezel now without having to reach across the screen to do it, and getting a small vibration that lets you know you've made a page turn (in the way we used to get feedback from the side 'buttons' going down and back up.]

" - New $79 Kindle is small and light, with weeks of battery life, a
20% faster processor, twice the storage, and now with a touch interface" [Finally]

New Fire Tablets - an ultrafast, higher resolution 8.9" model (same pricing) + 6" and 7" basic HD models + a hardy one for "kids"
The new Fire HD 6" 2014 is available for pre-order starting today for $99 for 6” and the Fire HD 7" 2014 at $139 for the 7” model and will begin shipping in October.

ALSO, via BLURBS from Amazon.
" The new Fire HDX 8.9, now higher performance, exclusive new audio, the fastest Wi-Fi and still startlingly light with a stunning HDX display.
  New Fire HDX 8.9 is $379. It is available for pre-order starting today...and will start shipping in October.
  The 4G version is $479 -- you can pre-order today at" the HDX-2014 page "and it will begin shipping in October.

[The current] Fire HDX 7 will continue to be available and will receive the Fire OS 4 update with many of these features later this year.  [You can] order today at [current Kindle Fire HDX 7 page] for just $199. "

  And in more detail, from Amazon's press release:
" Fast and fluid—Fire HDX 8.9 is powered by the latest generation quad-core 2.5 GHz processor and a 70% faster graphics engine

Perfect color, 339 ppi HDX display features Dynamic Light Control which automatically adjusts the color of the display to make the pages of a book more closely resemble a piece of paper in any light

First tablet with Dolby Atmos, plus loud and immersive audio that is twice as loud as the iPad Air

Fire OS 4 “Sangria” adds hundreds of new features and platform enhancements, including Firefly, ASAP, Smart Suspend, and other Amazon-exclusive features

Family Library lets family members easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content, even if they use different Amazon accounts [Blog note: a key new feature...]

Free, unlimited cloud storage for photos

New Fire Keyboard is the thinnest and lightest full-featured tablet keyboard, with a trackpad that makes productivity and navigation easier than ever."

They also have a seriously powerful "Kids Edition" of the Fire HD tablet (costing more than the $99 version)
Details are at Fire HD Kids Edition and looks to be made for more durability than the 6" $99 Fire HD version

Click on this smaller image (here for convenience) to get the large version of the new Amazon Fire Tablet Comparison Table.
  Smaller version:

That's the skinny for now.  I'll be exploring the details more and will put them into a more organized blog article, with differences noted.  We have some current models that will stay current, for those who don't need the fastest and most-featured devices, and the new models look promising.

Did you know you can sell-back or trade-in used Kindles to Amazon?
Here's how it's done, with estimated $value for those in good condition.

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  1. I pre-ordered the Voyager w/3G. Hoping the screen is really a lot better than my PW1, but if not, I'll return it. It worries me a little when they say it is 'our brightest' because in my mind that is synonymous with 'washed out' and I never, never thought the contrast on my PW1 was better than my Kindle Touch. Other folks think the flush bezel means thicker glass with diminished text, as the Kobo Aura apparently suffers from, but I very much like the idea. Don't care about the page turn buttons, the 'adaptive lighting' (what is wrong with onscreen brightness adjustment gesture as many reading apps have?). But we'll see, maybe I'll like those features after all.

    The only tablet that interests me at all is the 6" Fire HD (the price is nice and I think I'd like the more compact form factor, IPS screen, quad-core, SlimPort, camera & mic that my FireHD2 lacks). Not impressed with the new HDX. Still planning to get the new iPad Air.

  2. Tom, reviewers with the Voyager in hand are pretty impressed by the display. Like you, I do prefer the contrast on the old Kindle Touch during daytime to the lit display of Paperwhite 1.

    I'd wonder about accidently turning pages when you press the bezel too hard w/o realizing it, but they must have done a good amount of testing on that. Adaptive lighting is something I usually turn off on any device -- the makers don't do it with my eyes in mind.

    Am biased - really love my HDX 8.9" (display and performance + Amazon's special features) -- and some high-profile tech writers reported this year leaving their iPad Airs in the drawer after spending time with the first HDX.

    1. I'm sure the new HDX is great (adaptive color balancing etc.) but it won't run the iOS apps I want to use, or anything remotely equivalent. And this year's iPad Air will be better than last year's (finally keyboard extensions!). Besides, I have a low opinion of the fickle opinions of high-profile tech writers.

      I cancelled my Voyager pre-order after some reflection. Over the years, I've had to replace 3 out of 4 Kindles due to early production screen issues. I figure this will be no different. Much as I want one, I'll wait before re-ordering (maybe until next year). With any luck there will some discounts offered between now and then.

    2. Ah, I understand now, Tom, re what you want from the Kindle HDX -- I did write the other day that Apple users should stick with Applie devices for the iOS apps they love. Re fickleness, I thought it took quite a bit for an Apple iPAD user to put one aside for the Kindle HDX, as there is general opinion that it's 2nd best (while I disagree). Paul Biba was one of the first - he loves his Apple devices.
      -- Also, no way will Android devices run iOS apps -- and of course Apple devices would never run Android or Windows apps. It makes sense that iPhone users (for example) who prize their excellent Apple apps should get Apple tablets.

      -- I switched from Android on Phone to Windows, because of Nokia Lumia's phone and missed only my many Cantonese lesson apps :-) It all depends on how you want to use the device.

      Re the Voyager -- I wouldn't have cancelled it since they have a good no-questions 30-day Full Return policy. At any rate we can go to places like Staples to see what the display is like, at least. Too bad we won't have your exploration input on it though! I may sell back to Amazon the Paperwhite 1 as it's too slow for me after getitng used to fast tablets and get the Voyager. I have a lot of old used Kindles I can sell back to Amazon now (and cameras etc too) to make purchasing higher-cost models easier to justify. ( ). I held onto older Kindles in case there were questions on the functions or updated software, but those are fewer these days(.

  3. If Amazon would make it easier to copy the title list from one Kindle to another, I'd be interested. I have hundreds of unread titles on my current Kindle. To copy those individually makes me pass on the newer Kindles. If only Amazon would have a "replace an existing Kindle with another Kindle" in their Manage My Kindle section, I'd be all over a new one.

    Vendors should not make it hard for customers to buy their products.

    1. Anonymous, there's a way. You have a Collections feature. Create a Collection called something like "To-read" and then multi-check boxes to include the books in that Collection. If you get a new Kindle, then you'd just use the feature to download a Collection to your new Kindle, and all those unread titles would come down and be within that special folder ('Collection') and easily findable.

    2. Hmm, I'll have to try that. I don't have current Collections for "to be read" - I have one for the books I've already read. I'll try what you've suggested. Unfortunately, I might have to buy a new Kindle now :)

    3. I can vouch for this. Cloud Collections make setting up on a new device completely painless.

    4. Anonynous. :-) If you do try a new one, let us know how it goes if you can.

  4. Maybe I'm OCD, but I hope the new Kindle won't show fingerprints as so many electronic devices do.

    1. Tom with possible OCD :-) -- Try one out at Staples if one is nearby when these are released. They have only a 14-day return policy so I favor buying at Amazon but I get other things at Staples (like my Surface Pro 2 laptop). The reports on the type of even stronger glass this time don't indicate fingerprint problems -- my Paperwhite 1 doesn't have any probs with that either.

      But also remember Amazon has a no-questions 30-day full refund policy if you're not happy with a Kindle.

    2. Yes good points... The other thing I'm concerned about is that the glass will crack. Then I can't return! :(

  5. You don't say what device you're interested in. I have the Paperwhite 1 from Sept. 2012 and that model was given drop tests by Amazon (similar to the key-ring drops that two tech writers said broke the Nook eReader displays consistently). The Paperwhite survived those. The tablets use gorilla glass. I've dropped my Paperwhite 1 and my tablets more often than any grownup should, but nothing's happened to them.
    On the other hand I put a pile of books on top of a 4-year old Kindle eReader, not knowing it was under something covering it, and that did hurt the display.
    They are understanding about this kind of thing within the 30-day period, I've read on forums, but there is a 1-year warranty and if a user obviously did something egregious to cause a device to break, within that year, they'll generally offer a refurbished one at half-price (because their focus is on your ability to buy Kindle books).

  6. Your article doesn't say if the HDX8.9 will get any updates.

    1. hn160, that's true. Amazon pointed that the 7" HDX remaining a current model will get the OS update later. They tend to do OS feature updates with older models about 3 to 8 months later, whether or not they're still in the official product-page header.. The only time I've seen them not do this was when the hardware in an older model would not make it feasible. (Even the 9" DX e-Ink reader had a less capable processor than the 6" model and didn't get the PDF contrast enhancer.). If the 7" HDX can handle the new features (which we've seen described in detail for the Fire Phone -- Firefly, etc.), then without a doubt the more capable hardware for the first-gen 8.9" HDX can also. Any software update received by the 7" HDX has always been applied to the more capable 8.9" HDX released at the same time last year. So I expect that the 8.9 HDX (which is my own favorite tablet) will get it also. That's only my take on this, but it's based on what Amazon has done in the past with older models with similar hardware capabilities.

  7. What's also interesting is what isn't mentioned with the Voyage- No free Wikipedia access from 3G, as is the case (or was) with the Paperwhite. Amazon's trend has been to remove "free" features of the 3G with every product cycle; free internet, then just Wikipedia, now nothing. On the plus side, they doubled the memory. I think Paperwhite is at 2GB and according to the Voyage manual, it's 4GB.

    I would say it's a good thing that the weight dropped by 1 ounce (which is a lot when the (3G version) weight is only 7.6 ounces. But ultimately it depends on *where* that ounce got lost. Hopefully not in the feel of the device. One thing I really like about the Paperwhite is viscerally, it has a really solid feel.

    I agree with Tom, I could do without the adaptive lighting. I set the brightness to level 1 and leave it there, since I don't need the lighting at all in daylight, and level 1 is fine for me at night. So for me personally, nothing has to adapt.

    I have hopes for the new page turn feature. While I have no complaints with how the Paperwhite works in this department, I must admit that one thing I liked about the Kindle Keyboard is that by holding it in my hand between the index finger and thumb, I could change pages by giving the slightest twitch of the thumb due to the button placement. Perhaps something similar will work with the new page turn feature.

    In the dimensions department, things haven't changed all that much, compared to the Paperwhite. It's 7mm shorter, 2mm narrower, and 1.5mm thinner. The height will be noticed, the rest I think not.

    So I have not preordered at this time. I'd like to see what people have to say once it's available.

    1. Hi, Blackbeard, good to hear from you. Thanks for pointing out that they specify WiFi access for Wikipedia now. Odd, since this costs $10 more than the Paperwhite 2, 3G.model.

      The Paperwhite 2 recently was quietly upgraded in storage to 4GB.

      I feel the same way about the adaptive lighting. I always turn that kind of thing off on the tablets. This MIGHT be better though since you can manually modify the setting for the current light situation if you don't like what you're seeing in their adaptive choice, and the device then remembers that was your preferred setting for that degree of light and will use that next time it sees the same situation.

      Wow, level '1' for night time? I can hardly see mine at that level, at night. I use 14-15, at the most 18 at times. But 14-15 works well for day or night for me. Anything higher than that, and contrast is decreased. And I don't like to see that much light for the background. So I'll have to take a look at the Voyage at Staples or AT&T.

      I'd been concerned that when hanging on to a strap on city transport and reading with one hand on the Kindle, a sudden higher-pressure grip due to buses jerking might set off a page turn. But I do like that the vibration feedback lets you know -- and so far the tech-sites have not complained about inadvertent page turns.

      Am with you, If the word is good (and tech-site reviews -are- raving about it) I'll trade in my several kindles and older cameras and pick up a Voyager. My WiFi/3G Paperwhite 1 has never given me 3G. I haven't cared because of the smartphone, and when they tried to get it to work recently (3 separate calls from them with ideas), they finally said to do a factory reset and if that didn't work, they could decide what to do about getting me a working 3G one -- but I didn't want to do a factory reset as I have a lot of personal things on it and am too busy recently to fuss around with setting it all up again after backing up the personal docs for later transfer.

      If you do try the Voyage somewhere, let us know what you think.


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