SANTA MONICA (KCBS) – In its latest effort to challenge Apple, Amazon on Thursday unveiled the latest version of its Kindle Fire tablet, hoping to dethrone the reigning king of the burgeoning industry.
Amazon is looking to gain a larger share of the tablet computer market, which is dominated by Apple’s iPad, the number one seller in the United States.
The new Kindle Fire is comes with a front-facing camera and company officials said it will be paired with a customized, pre-installed application from Skype that will allow users to video chat for free. It also comes in two screen sizes (7 inches and 8.9 inches.)
KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid:
The device will also have several new services, including X-Ray for movies and Kindle FreeTime. X-Ray allows users to look up information on actors in scenes without leaving the movie. FreeTime is a new parental control system.
The basic model of the Kindle Fire with 7-inch screen will cost $159, down from $199 for the old model. The high-end 8.9-inch version with 4G LTE internet costs $499. Some of the new devices are expected to start shipping September 14.
Amazon also updated its family of stand-alone e-readers, with sharper screens and longer battery life for the devices.
You can hear Larry Magid’s Tech Report Monday through Friday at 3:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
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