The new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite have both arrived in stores and online and sales show people are buying them like crazy. Amazon is certainly one company who listens to their customers, makes the improvements in the product, and make the product better than ever.
With most product improvements there are always going to be new features than can be a bit confusing. So to help Kindle fans understand some of these new features, we’ve combined them into a single article for easy reference.
The Newest Kindle Fire Models
There are four new Kindle models available today with this new release:
- Kindle Fire HD – This model has a 7 inch HD display
- Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G – Comes with the latest in Wi-FI technology, a bigger screen and is also the most expensive version
- Kindle Fire HD 8.9” – New giant display with Wi-Fi
- Kindle Fire – 7” display screen and 40% faster than original Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire HD Features
Amazon has improved visibility and reduced the glare on their Kindles by making some interesting improvements to the screen. Most e-readers have a screen which is made of two sheets of glass. The bottom sheet is an LCD and the top sheet is the touch sensor screen. The issue with this type of design is that the two layers produce a tiny layer of air between them. Because light reflects off of every surface this layer of air produces multiple reflections that can be very distracting for users.
To solve this problem Amazon laminated the two sheets of glass together producing a single layer of glass. This results in an easier to read display that works well in all lighting conditions.
Another way Amazon has made the display better is by polarizing the screen.
E-readers use IPS (in plane switching) to improve their color display. The issue with IPS is that when a user tilts or views their reader in a different direction, the colors can often appear faded or dull. You might have noticed it if you have ever tried to share your Kindle when watching a movie.
To improve the color quality and contrast in the new Kindle Fire’s Amazon has added a polarizing filter to the LCD layer of the display. Now you can view your Kindle Fire in any position and still retain the deep color quality and contrast.
The Kindle Fire HD now come with integrated Dolby Digital Plus sound to create high quality audio that works even when wearing headphones. This sound incorporates technology that adjusts the volume and creates a virtual surround sound all while delivering movies and TV shows with easier to understand dialogues. The Kindle Fire HD automatically adjusts the audio settings in relation to what you are doing, listening to a movie, listening to music or talking on Skype or using your headphones.
The Kindle Fire HD also is one of the only tablets/e-readers that has dual sound stereo speakers installed on both sides of the screen area. These speakers provide tons of power so you can use them to replicate your in home stereo sound.
Don’t you just hate slow downloads and dropped connections? This issue is now solved with the Kindle Fire HD by using state of the art dual bandwidth, dual antenna bandwidth which results in 40% faster speeds.
Power and Storage
The Kindle Fire HD was designed for those who want to watch HD movies and play games. Amazon’s goal was to provide you with super high speeds without comprising on storage or the life of your battery.
The Kindle Fire HD uses an Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core, this allows games to run smoothly while still delivery high quality graphics. The touch software provides you with instant response rates when touching any application on the screen.
You will now get over 11 hours of battery life on your Kindle Fire HD. HD takes up lots of storage space and this is why Amazon is now offering more storage capacity on these models 16GB and 32GB. Plus you get free unlimited Cloud Storage.
Amazon Prime is a fast growing commodity and is a membership site. Your membership allows you to download movies, and borrow a book from the lending library with no additional charges and with no due dates. Currently the Lending Library has over 180,000 titles including books from the New York Best Sellers list.
Prime members have access to more than 25,000 movies and TV shows and you can enjoy streaming that includes no commercials.
For new users who haven’t enjoyed the experience of Amazon Prime a one month free membership is included with your Kindle purchase.
Apps and Games
The Kindle Fire HD was built for gaming and apps. It’s easy to play games on your new Kindle and you can store your games in the Cloud using Game Circle. You won’t lose your place in your game even if you delete it from your Kindle. Plus you get access to all the most popular Apps from your Kindle including Skype, Pinterest, Facebook and The Weather Channel.
Note: Amazon makes it easy for you to share your purchases across all your devices, so you only need buy something once. Just use the Amazon App for Windows, Mac, Game Consoles, TV and more. There truly is an App for everything.
Amazon Only Features
The following features can only be found on the Amazon Kindle devices and are ways that Amazon has made their Kindle so popular.
X Ray Technology
Amazon’s X Ray technology really does allow you to see deeper into your book and now the movies you are watching! The new Kindle Fire HD used the power of IMDb to interact with the movie. You can simply tap on any scene of the movie to see which actors are on screen and then you can jump over to see other movies that they have played in and lots more. This is exciting technology from Amazon and they are sure to deliver lots more in the near future.
With the X Ray for books you tap on any page as you are reading and find extra details about that book. This could be an in depth character profile, pictures of locations, background info and more information that is taken from Shelfari and Wikipedia.
The Kindle Fire HD is now capable of synchronizing the Kindle text with the audio version of the book. So you can follow along on your Kindle while listening! This feature is now available on approximately 15,000 books in various niches.
Whispersync has been around ever since Amazon has been making Kindle readers. But like these new editions of Kindle, Amazon has also improved on their Whispersync technology.
- Whispersync for Voice – allows you to easily switch between reading and listening to a book without losing your place.
- Whispersync for Movies – allows you to stop and start watching a movie without having to start from the beginning.
- Whispersync for Books – allows you to sync books in your library across all of your devices. You can easily bookmark pages, make notes and highlight them and pick up where you left off from another device. This is great for reading on your way to work or for students who work on the bus and then switch to their laptop. Just pick up and continue.
- Whispersync for Games - gives you Cloud access to store your games, this way you won’t lose your place and can continue playing from where you left off.
The Kindle Fire HD includes the Skype app so you can quickly make video calls to all your friends around the world. The Skype app is pre installed and comes with a front facing video camera.
Email and Facebook
The new email app on the Kindle Fire HD works with the top email providers including Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo. It is super easy to use and so is the Facebook app which is available in the Amazon App store. The Facebook app allows you to sync and share your photos, share quotes and play games with your family and friends.
The Kindle Freetime feature has been developed with both parents and children in mind. This feature is free on the Kindle Fire HD and allows parents to set profiles for their children. This way you can restrict access to what they can and cannot see when using the device. Parents can easily set category restrictions which limit how many games or videos they can watch each day.
The new Kindle Fire HD is built tough so you can allow your kids to use it. The display screen is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, so it can definitely stand up to being used by small children.
After setting your kids profile they get a kid friendly screen when they log in. You can set color backgrounds and kid friendly fonts to make reading and viewing on the Kindle easy and more fun. What a great way to encourage your kids to read more often!
Browse the Web
It is now possible to browse the web from your Kindle Fire HD. A new version of Amazon Silk is offered. You have various choices when it comes to viewing and reading web based content.
Touch the screen and the user interface disappears allowing you to read on a full screen. Or you can use Reading View to remove all unnecessary images and graphics from the site.
Trending Now is a feature that alerts you to highly visited pages, meaning that they are newsworthy. This allows you to keep on top of new events as they happen.
Out of the Box
When you receive your Kindle Fire HD it has already been pre-registered to your Kindle account. This allows you to begin using your new Kindle immediately, plus you will still have access to products that you have previously purchased.
Your new Kindle Fire HD has been integrated so you can quickly start reading, watching movies or shopping without having to register or sign in to accounts.
The Kindle Fire HD offers built in Bluetooth capability so you can quickly use wireless accessories such as headphones, speakers and keyboards. The Kindle Fire HD is equipped with an HDMI out port so you can share your photos and videos on your TV or other display screen.
Kindle Paperwhite Features
The Kindle Paperwhite is light and thin and allows you to easily read with just one hand. The EasyReach Tap zone on the display provides fast page turning times. One light tap is all that is needed to turn the page.
There are two models available, both with 6 inch display screens:
- Kindle Paperwhite
- Kindle Paperwhite 3G
The Kindle Paperwhite features a new and improved reading experience. This has been achieved by changing the backlit reading display from previous models. The Kindle Paperwhite draws light from the surface of the e-ink display area. What this means is that the light will never directly shine into your eyes. The result is that you can read very comfortably without straining your eyes.
It has taken the developers at Amazon over 2 years to improve the uniformity of the built in lighting on the Kindle. This new design uses nanoimprinting and nanoscale to bring you a screen that displays a balanced whiteness.
This new technology allows your Kindle Paperwhite to use less LED’s which use very little power to light your screen evenly. As you will be reading in different lighting conditions the Kindle Paperwhite has an improved brightness control, allowing you to adjust your Kindle from low to full brightness as required.
The battery in your Kindle Paperwhite can last for up to 8 weeks. This is based on using your Kindle for 30 minutes per day with the wireless turned off and a lighting set at level 10.
As you can see these are new and improved features from Amazon and this can help you decide which Kindle would suit your purposes the best.
Your Reading Experience
The Kindle Paperwhite allows you to customize your reading experience. You can easily choose from 8 text sizes to fit your reading preferences. There are 6 fonts which have been ‘hand tuned’ to increase resolution and allows elegant fonts to be displayed more effectively.
With the Kindle Paperwhite you can add notes, bookmarks and highlights which can then be exported. You can even share your quotes on Facebook and Twitter.
The Kindle Paperwhite will be the first Kindle to display real page numbers that would correspond to the text in a print book. This will be helpful to students who need to cite passages or for those who are reading a book as part of a group setting.
Time to Read is a new feature that picks up on your reading habits. It will estimate the time it will take you to read a chapter or finish a book based on our recent reading speed.
Want to know more about the author? Now you can see all the details the author has entered about themselves from their Author Central account including their bio and other books they have written.
Additional Notable Features
Amazon automatically backs up your library in the Cloud, so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your books. The Kindle Paperwhite features a built in dictionary of up to 250,000 words so you don’t have to leave the page to find the definition of a word.
You can now easily search the Web using an experimental web browser called WebKit. Instant translations are also available on your new Kindle using the Bing Translator. Global language support is another new feature allowing readers to read Chinese or Japanese text on their Kindles.
Korean, Cyrillic, Latin, and Greek scripts are also supported and users are provided with free access to several international dictionaries.
Kindle Paperwhite now offers support for children’s books with Kindle Text Pop-Up, and comic books with Kindle Panel View which allows you to read a comic book panel by panel. Parental controls are also available so you can restrict access on your Kindle. Allowing you to let your child use your Kindle with no worries.
By now you should have a good understanding of what the new features are for the Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Paperwhite. You can decide which model would be better suited for your needs and your budget.
Both models are available with no slim, lightweight covers in many different colors. This covers will help protect your Kindle and they automatically wake up and put your Kindle to sleep as you open and close them. A nice feature which ensures your Kindle is turned off when not in use.
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