Amazon takes aim at Apple's iPad with Kindle Fire HD

Amazon's new tablet line-up aims to lure away would-be Apple iPad buyers, with both 7- and 8.9-inch models and price tags ranging from US$199 to US$499.

The eight-inch Kindle Fire HD.
(Credit: Amazon)

In case it wasn't clear enough with the original Kindle Fire, Amazon's got Apple's iPad in its sights. And overnight, Amazon expanded its arsenal.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos today showed off three new models of the Kindle Fire, dubbed the Kindle Fire HD, that are clearly aimed at wooing away those who might buy a tablet from Apple.

The Amazon assault begins with a new US$199, 7-inch model, with an HD screen and doubles the built-in storage of the previous entry-level Kindle Fire to 16GB. Amazon has also doubled that product line with a larger, 8.9-inch model that has a 1920x1200 resolution screen, features 16GB of built-in storage, costs US$299 and ships 20 November. Topping out the line is a new 32GB model, with 4G LTE wireless connectivity for AU$499, which Bezos compared directly to Apple's US$729 third-generation iPad with similar specs.

What is perhaps the most aggressive feature among any of the models, is the data plan on the 4G model, which costs $50 a year. Users get 250MB of cellular data per month, along with 20GB of cloud storage from Amazon's Cloud Drive service. While not great if you're a big video watcher or app downloader, the plans are considerably cheaper than those for other tablets with cellular service. That includes Apple's 4G iPad data plan, which Amazon calculated to cost US$230 for an equivalent year of service.

Of course, all this may be moot in Australia; we never saw the Kindle Fire, and we're not counting on the odds of the Fire HD arriving here either — and, even if it did, we don't have the 4G network frequencies to support the device.


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