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Amazon Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE and Fam: TechNow Gina Smith

Gina Smith
Written by Gina Smith

Amazon Kindle Fire Family: Tech Now with Gina Smith

Late last summer, inside Amazon sources quietly divulged a secret to two of our reporters. Expect a whole line of Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and readers, it said. Not just one. The three unrelated sources had details and lots of them. Our Eric Mack and I broke that story for the pub we launched last year — and the sources’ promises became reality today.

Our sources talked about small and larger form factor tablets code-named Coyote and Hollywood, devices that truly take Amazon’s Whispersync technology and extend it past text and audio streaming. Those tablets, announced yesterday, are the 8.9-inch and 7-inch Amazon Kindle 2 HD.

On today’s Tech Now with Gina Smith, I focus on some of the mysteries still surrounding these two devices. We’re not even going to get into the new little reader yet.

Does Amazon intend to dump the Texas Instruments OMAP CPU it typically uses for a quad core Tegra3 for its $499 HD unit? Amazon made no mention of the Tegra3 at its announcement. We do now know the lower-end model is a Texas Instruments OMAP …

UPDATE: The TI OMAP quad-core is in fact the CPU at heart of both Amazon Kindle Fire 7 inch and 8.9 inch models.

That’s a media machine. It needs all the power it can get to render rich graphics and play audio and video.

Here is a comparison shot showing how the third-generation Apple Pad, the existing Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook compare in various respects.

In August 2011, months before anyone coraborrated our triple-sourced story that Amazon planned to go after Apple in the tablet market, then a shocker of a story. And we had details about what we called a 7-inch  — code-named, our sources told us, “Coyote.” Hollywood would be at the high-end — a quad-core-based 4G LTE streaming tablet made for movies and out to maximize Amazon Prime, bottom line.

Hollywood  — this is the $499 Amazon Kindle Fire 2 HD 4G LTE announced today — was to be a $500-level, ultra-high end movie tablet that was likely to be quadcore, nVidia Tegra 3 with HD and double WiFi and stereo speakers. Little change there, except for the CPU, noted above.

So today at last Amazon took the covers off Coyote and Hollywood. And if the names Coyote and Hollywood don’t ring a bell, watch today’s three minute episode of Tech Now with Gina Smith, above. In it, I explain the whole thing.

Above, Amazon reps prep for what became a rambling two-hour Kindle product announcement in Santa Monica, CA, today. It was a press conference for tech press and analysts.

CEO Jeff Bezos wore blue.

In a rambling two hour announcement and demo, Amazon announced three new tablets in its line — the improved Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 inch HD with 4G LTE tablet at $499 and a  $299 3G version  8.9 inch — both with the dual Wi-Fi and speakers that’ll make it the so-called “Hollywood tablet” movie player Amazon sources have been describing to for more than a year now.

Amazon also announced the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite reader and cut $10 off the $79 processor off its current Kindle reader

“People don’t want gadgets anymore. They want services that improve over time,” Bezos told the crowd of reporters and analysts at its two-hour announcement today. It was an hour in before Amazon execs moved to the demo of the typical looking, rounded corner tablet — not much different looking, to me anyway, than that of the ill-fated original HP Touchpad tablet last year.

As we predicted, Whispersync technology is the secret sauce that differentiates its readers and other services. That often-underestimated text markup and sharing tech allows for digital saving, stopping and starting of rich media, too.

Folks on Twitter were abuzz at the announcement’s start at 10:30 a.m. today PT.

Developing …

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist online, in print, radio and national TV. A former tech correspondent for ABC News, Gina founded aNewDomain with John C. Dvorak and Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Email Gina at and follow her @ginasmith888 and on Google+ through her page at +Gina Smith.

  • Ant Pruitt

    Is this priced just right for those outside of the iPad pay scale?

    -RAP, II

  • Gina

    Priced exactly right — 69 dollars to 499 and everything in between — all in all cheaper than apple ipad of equal specs and likely optimized for movie making, per the hollywood mention in the video above, ant

  • I would still take a Nexus 7 instead.

    • Ant Pruitt

      Hardware seems comparable now. I give amazon credit for that. But there’s nothing like a pure Google experience, right? No skin overlay.

      -RAP, II

      • Plus I don’t get force feed advertising with the Nexus 7 unless I allow it.