Amazon today unveiled its Kindle Fire tablet, as well as a new thinner and lighter touchscreen Kindle called the Touch and a cheaper, £89 Kindle. The Amazon Kindle Fire will be available from November 15 2011. 

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Amazon Kindle Fire: details

The Amazon Kindle Fire will have a 7in 1024x600 display and sell for $199 (£127) in the US, less than half the price of the market-leading Apple iPad - although the Kindle Fire is more of a content consumption device than a personal computer, perhaps best compared to a large iPod touch. It will run a custom version of Google Android with an Amazon-branded user interface.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos described the way that the company has built up a huge media resource, that is utilised by millions, and praised the Kindle as a device for consuming media. Bezos said that Amazon had been building its media business for 15 years, and has movies, 17 million songs, and the Amazon Cloud Player. He said that Amazon has its own Android App Store now, with a simulator and free apps. And that Amazon Prime is a successful product.

He said Amazon has AWS, Prime, Kindle, Instant Video, MP3 and an Android AppStore, and that the Amazon Kindle Fire brings all of these resources together into what he described as 'a remarkable product offering'.

The Kindle Fire is a 7in tablet with an IPS display and dual core chip. It is light - just 414g - and easy to hold, Bezos said, and offers access to a world of content, including music, movies, TV, photos and full colour magazines. That touchscreen is made of Gorilla Glass, and has 169ppi resolution. It will, however, suffer from screen glare: an accusation Amazon has thrown at products such as the Apple iPad in the past. Measuring 190x120x11.4mm, the devices comes with an 8GB interneal memory and according to Amazon offers eight hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with the wireless switched off.

Bezos said the Kindle Fire can back up to the cloud all your movie, music, book and TV content. Impressiveley, WhisperSync now works with movies and TV shows, he said, meaning that you can watch a portion of a film on one device, stop and then pick it up on another.

Another nice touch is that the Kindle Fire is preregistered and greets you by name when you first boot it. The Kindle Fire utilises a technology Amazon is calling 'Amazon Silk' to enable faster web browsing on its mobile device. This utilises the cloud to share the burden of executing Javascript and so on, meaning your device needs to speak to the web far less often and - according to Amazon at least - reducing a 100ms response to 5ms. It also uses cloud computing to record the behaviour patterns of other web users, and pre-empt your next moves, preparing pages in the background. In essence, Amazon Silk uses the cloud as cache for web pages. Users will also benefit froma USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone connection.

Commenting on the $199 price of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Bezos said: "I hope you see what we're doing here... these are premium products at non-premium prices."

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Amazon Kindle Touch: details

Amazon also announced the Amazon Kindle Touch, a device smaller and lighter than previous Kindles, with an infrared touch system.

The Touch was described as 'ambidextrous', with an "EasyReach" feature that  gives you a big next page zone and a small previous page one. A feature called 'X-ray' allows for a deeper dive into contextual information about the book you are reading, with all the information stored locally. The Kindle Touch will cost $99 in the US. There's currently no suggestion of a UK price or launch date.

Amazon Kindle touch

The Amazon Kindle touch

Amazon also a 3G version, the Kindle Touch 3G, with no-contract, no fee 3G connectivity, costing $149.

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£89 Amazon Kindle: details

Amazon also announced an even smaller, thinner, lighter and cheaper Amazon Kindle, that will retail in the US for only $79 (£50) although Brits will have to fork out £89 to get their hands on the device. The cheapest Kindle eReader has no keyboard or touchsreen. It's available to pre-order now with delivery on October 12.

At the Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle touch launch, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined the success of the original Amazon Kindle devices. He said that despite some initial negative press, the Kindle has been a success, with digital book sales outselling physical books because of what he calls the 'end-to-end' service.

Jeff Bezos launches the Amazon Kindle Fire

He cited the quality of E-ink as a reading medium, and praised the incredible battery life that the Amazon Kindle eReader devices enjoy. He also noted the fact that an Amazon e-book purchase can be accessed from a variety of devices, that it always remembers where you are due to WhisperSync, and you can annotate the text on an eBook.

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