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Amazon unveils $199 Kindle Fire tablet, Kindle Touch for $99

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Amazon announced today its new Kindle Fire, a 7-inch Android-based tablet that will cost $199. In addition, the e-commerce giant also unveiled the the Kindle Touch, which will run $99 and a standard Kindle for the reduced price of $79.

The Fire has an IPS display with 169 pixels-per-inch resolution. Super-tough Gorilla Glass protects the screen, which can support the display of 16 million colors. Inside, the Fire comes loaded with a dual-core processor, and the device weighs just 14.6 ounces. As expected, the Fire closely resembles the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Software-wise, the Kindle Fire runs Android, but a heavily modified version. Kindle Fire customers will receive a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which gives subscribers access to the company’s movie and TV streaming library and free two-day shipping on products purchased through Amazon.com. Amazon has also loaded the device with a custom “Amazon Silk” browser, which CEO Jeff Bezos calls a “split” browser, meaning it gets half its computing power from the device, and the other half from Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing servers.

Widely touted as an ‘iPad killer,’ the Kindle Fire can connect to the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection, but it does not have 3G connectivity, nor does it have a camera – two features available on most tablets, including a variety of iPad models. Despite the lack of these features, the Kindle Fire costs less than half the price of the least expensive iPad 2, which runs $499 and does not have 3G connectivity either.

The Kindle Touch is a touchscreen e-reader, and has Amazon’s traditional E-Ink display. A Wi-Fi-only version will sell for $99. A second model, called the Kindle Touch 3G, which of course includes 3G connectivity, will cost $149.

Pre-order for the Kindle Fire starts today, with deliveries of the device to begin on November 15.

To recap: Kindle Fire (no 3G) for $199; Kindle Touch (no 3G) for $99; Kindle Touch 3G for $149; Kindle for $79.

Our own Jeffrey Van Camp is at the Amazon event in New York City, which is still ongoing, and will be updating us with the latest information, so check back here for more details about the Kindle Fire soon. We will also have some in-person pictures and video of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch shortly.

Update 1: The Fire comes with 8GB internal storage, and no SD card slot for additional storage. Stereo speakers are embedded on top of the device.

Update 2: Kindle Fire customers will also have access to Amazon’s full library, including magazines. All content on the device will be backed up to Amazon’s cloud.

For more pictures of Amazon’s new Kindle lineup check out our hands-on photos or our official press photo gallery.

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Andrew Couts
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