Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD ships early, available today starting at $300

Kindle Fire HD

Check out our full review of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet. 

Holiday shoppers now have a new tablet to toggle with before Thanksgiving arrives. Amazon announced today that its 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD device has officially begun shipping.

The tablet was originally set to ship on November 20, but Amazon has released a version of its newest device five days earlier. The 4G LTE edition of the Kindle Fire successor will also be available next week, Amazon has said. “With the holiday season upon us, we’re excited to make our $300 Kindle Fire HD 8.9’’ available early,” Amazon Kindle Vice President Dave Limp said in a statement

Customers have the option of purchasing the Kindle Fire HD through Amazon’s website or at Best Buy starting on Friday. It will also be available at retailers such as Staples and Radio Shack in the coming weeks.  Back in September, the online retailer unveiled three versions of its device with the hopes of competing against tablet heavyweights Google and Apple. The Amazon Kindle Fire HD, likes its predecessor, will run on an custom Amazon software modeled after Google’s Android mobile operating system. The tablet will ship with equivalent of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), one of the most recent iterations of Google’s software.

 As for its features, the newly available 8.9-inch tablet features a 1,920 x 1,200 HD display with 254 pixels per inch (ppi) and a front-facing HD camera that can be used for taking photos and making video phone calls. The Kindle Fire HD also comes equipped with dual stereo speakers and a whopping 10 hours of battery life, according to Amazon. It appears that Amazon has branded its Kindle Fire HD as family friendly, shared device, as it comes with a feature called Kindle FreeTime preinstalled.  This is what Amazon has called a “personalized tablet experience” specifically made for kids that is exclusive to the Kindle Fire. Parents can set daily screen limits and moderate the content their children are consuming on the device.

The company also detailed its data package plans via AT&T that will launch alongside the 4G LTE edition of the 8.9-inch tablet. A one-time payment of $50 gets users 250MB of session data, a $10 Amazon Appstore for Android credit and 20GB of Amazon Cloud Drive. This deal is only available for the first year of service. Amazon’s announcement is yet another reminder of the saturated state of the tablet industry. While Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the two original e-reader big shots, duke it out over their respective Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD tabs, Microsoft, Apple and Google have also introduced their own new devices. Last month saw the launch of Apple brand new 7.9-inch iPad Mini, iPad 4, and Microsoft’s first self-branded Surface tablet. Google just released its Nexus 10 tab earlier this week, which sold out within minutes.