Amazon has announced its new line of Kindle Fire tablets, the Kindle Fire HD that will be sweeping the market.  The new models offer a choice of a larger screen and 4G capability, and faster hardware built in.  These upgrades, paired with their relatively low price points, make the Kindle Fire HD a serious competitor with the iPad.  Let’s take a detailed look at what each HD version is bringing to the table.

Kindle Fire HD 7”:  This is a straight upgrade from the original Kindle Fire.  Still at $200 for the 16GB model, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.  They also offer a 32GB model for $249 for those of you who need more storage space.  The HD version is running a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, an improvement from the 1 GHz processor found in the original Kindle Fire.  It sports 1GB of RAM (as do all the other models), and a 1280 x 800 resolution.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9”:  This beauty has the screen Fire owners have called for, with a 1920 x 1200 resolution.  The 8.9” models both use a dual-core 1.5GHz processor.  CEO Jeff Bezos even claims that this dual-core 1.5GHz processor is faster than the quad-core Tegra 3 chip found in most Android tablets.  A bold claim that will surely be tested once the device is out for benchmarking.  It comes with both 16GB and 32GB storage sizes priced fairly at $299 and $369.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G:  This is the true competitor for the iPad.  It has 4G compatibility It shares the same processer as the WIFI version of the 8.9” Fire HD, but offers higher storage limits at 32GB/64GB.  With more space and functionality comes price, with the 32GB model costing $499 and the 64GB model costing $599.

Things I like:

  • Dual antennas for faster wireless connections
  • Multiple price points, one for every consumer
  • Exchange email integration for those of us who want to use them for business
  • 4G plan with one-time $50 payment for a year, no monthly payments.
  • Front Facing HD Camera

Things I don’t like:

  • 4G plan is only 250MB a month
  • Only 1GB of RAM
  • Running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) instead of Jellybean
  • Only 1 month free of Amazon Prime.  When spending 400-500 dollars on a tablet, they could perhaps give 3-6 months of their Prime service out.

So Apple better take note, they have some serious competition now.  I don’t think the Kindle Fire will ever eliminate the iPad or even outsell it for that matter, but Amazon is learning the market and will start to take bigger bites out of it every chance it gets.