In a much anticipated move, Amazon introduced their next generation of Kindles today. In general, the new devices are faster, better and cost less than last year’s batch.
It looks like Amazon is going for the Goldilocks approach when it comes to ereaders and tablets. They pretty much have a device for everyone. On a budget? Get the entry level Kindle ereader for only $69 ($10 less than it was last year). Want a built-in light? The new Kindle Paperwhite (replaces Kindle touch and adds a built-in light) is for you.
The company has a similar philosophy with its Kindle Fire tablets too. The entry level Kindle Fire (40% faster, double storage) is only $159. That is quite an achievement since the original Fire went for $199 last year and was popular enough to snag Amazon 22% of the tablet market.
Amazon unveiled new Kindle Fire HD tablets as well. The 7″ wifi-only version comes with 16 or 32GB of storage and runs $199. It also has a 1920×1200 HD display. The 8.9″ version comes in either wifi-only or 4G LTE models at $299 and $499 respectively.
The 4G LTE is pretty surprising since $499 puts it at the entry price of an iPad. The real surprise is the data plan that Amazon is offering with the tablet though. For only $49.99 a year you get 250MB per month of 4G LTE service. The same data costs $14.99/mo. at AT&T and the smallest plan you can get from Verizon is $20/mo. for 1GB. So someone that uses 4G a lot would save at least $130/year by using a Kindle Fire HD instead of an iPad.
So the biggest name in ebooks and ereaders has drastically cut the prices and improved the quality of its ereaders and tablets. This will certainly accelerate the already rapid transition from print books to ebooks.