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Amazon Expands Kindle Line

Seattle — Amazon unveiled the third-generation Kindle Fire on Wednesday, known as the Kindle Fire HDX.

Two screen sizes will be offered — 7 inches and 8.9 inches — both available without or without 4G. Pricing is as follows for the 7-inch model with special offers and sponsored screensavers (versions without special offers add $15 to the price).  

** Wi-Fi 16GB: $229

** Wi-Fi 32GB: $269

** Wi-Fi 64GB: $309

** 4G 16GB: $329

** 4G 32GB: $369

** 4G 34GB: $409

The 8.9-inch model is as follows:

** Wi-Fi 16GB: $379

** Wi-Fi 32GB: $429

** Wi-Fi 64GB: $479

** 4G 16GB: $479

** 4G 32GB: $529

** 4G 34GB: $579

The 4G service will be offered on AT&T and Verizon networks, the latter of which is a first for Kindle devices.

All are available for pre-order, and shipping will be as follows:

** Seven-inch without 4G: Oct. 18

** Seven-inch with 4G: Nov. 14

** 8.9-inch without 4G: Nov. 7

** 8.9-inch with 4G: Dec. 10

Both HDX models feature 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processors, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics engines, and both run Amazon’s Fire OS 3.0.

The 7-inch version has a 1,920 by 1,200 resolution with 323 ppi, while the larger model ups it to 2,560 by 1,600 with 339 ppi.

Amazon packaged several new features with the tablets. A Mayday button connects consumers to free live tech support; the company said it aims to respond to consumers within 15 seconds, 24/7/365. The company has also updated its Silk browser and added enterprise-friendly features like VPN, secure Wi-Fi and wireless printing. 

Battery life is listed at 17 hours for reading and 11 hours for “mixed use” for the 7-inch version; the 8.9-inch version adds an hour to both.  

Both models have front-facing 720p cameras, and a rear-facing camera on the 8.9-inch model captures 8-megapixel photos and records 1080p video. Built-in speakers boast Dolby Digital Plus audio.

Amazon said it re-engineered the Kindle’s design to reduce weight and maximize signal strength by constructing it with a single piece of machined magnesium and a blend of glass and nylon, creating openings for the antennas. They are lightest Kindle Fires that Amazon offers.  

A new magnetic Origami cover positions the tablet in portrait or landscape mode, and the cover for the larger HDX has a slide feature that automatically launches the camera app when it’s opened.