SANTA MONICA, California: Amazon on Thursday unveiled a new, larger version of its Kindle Fire tablet computer with a high-definition display, in a move by the retail giant to take on the market-leading iPad.
The new Kindle Fire HD will be offered with 8.9-inch (22.6 centimeter) display, along with an upgraded version of the tablet launched in a smaller format last year, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos told reporters.
“Our large-display tablet is only 8.8 millimeters (thick), and weighs 20 ounces (560 grams),” he said, unveiling the larger device after also unveiling a new backlit version of the online retailer’s groundbreaking Kindle reader.
The Kindle Fire HD has dual-band Wi-Fi and two antennas, he said, comparing it to the rival iPad from Apple and the Google Nexus 7 tablets.
Bezos said the upgraded Wi-Fi specifications and increased processing clout would make it run 41 percent faster than the latest version of the iPad, launched earlier this year.
The Kindle Fire HD 7 inch will cost $199 and ships September 14, while the iPad-challenging larger version, with 16 GB of memory will cost $299 and will go on sale on November 20.
In an even more direct challenge to the iPad, a 4G version of the larger Kindle Fire HD will sell at $499 — the same price as a basic iPad.
“We have just built the best tablet at any price,” Bezos said.
Speaking in an airport hangar in Santa Monica, California, he said Amazon kept its prices lower than many competitors because it wants to make money from selling content, rather than from devices themselves.
“We want to make money when they use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” he told reporters gathered for a press conference the subject of which had been a mystery before the event.
“If somebody buys one of our devices and puts it in a desk drawer and never uses it, we don’t deserve to make any money,” he added.
Contrary to a rumor which spread on the eve of the Amazon event, there was no announcement of a new Amazon smartphone.
The Kindle Fire HD announcements came after he unveiled a new Kindle e-reader with so-called “paperwhite” display. It will have a battery life of eight weeks with the backlight on, and will ship October 1.
The paperwhite Kindle will retail at $119, while a 3G mobile version will cost $179. A new version of the basic Kindle will be reduced in price from $79 to $69, he said.