Posted September 6, 2012 5:24 pm by with 0 comments

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While Apple builds the buzz over their up-coming press conference, Amazon has slipped in with some big news of their own. CEO Jeff Bezos met with the press this morning to unveil a new line of Kindle Fires and a new Kindle e-reader and what I saw made me weak in the knees. I love my iPad but Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is calling me with one feature I’ve been craving for a long while.

For the first time, Amazon shouldered its way into Apple’s space with a high end Kindle Fire HD model that retails for $499. This is well above the price points they were hitting and seems to go against the grain of Bezos statement:

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

Then again, all of Amazon’s Kindles are positioned to take advantage of their huge library of digital materials including ebooks, movies, TV shows and music. The new units feature a 1280×800 high definition LCD display, Dolby dual-drive speakers and WiFi that is 41% faster than the iPad 3. Wow.

Now here’s the nifty part, X-Ray for Movies. It’s like facial recognition combined with IMDB. Pause a movie and the gizmo identifies the actors in the scene and tells you what other movies they’ve starred in. No more, “where do I know him from” moments. It’s my dream feature, and yes, that’s the life I live.

They also have X-Ray for Books, which gives you related content when you tap portions of an ebook. Immersion Reading, where you listen to an audio version of the book while reading it and WhisperSync for Voice which lets you seamlessly switch between audio and text.

They’ve also packed in Skype, email, and deep Facebook integration.

If you’re a parent, you’ll want to check out Kindle FreeTime, an upcoming service that creates a special profile on the unit for your kids. Use it to limit which games and books kids can access as well as the amount of time they spend using the tablet.

If all you want to do is read, look into Kindle Paperwhite. This is a lightweight, clear, top of the line ebook reader with a built-in front lighting system. What’s interesting about this is how Amazon can get away with selling a single use device. Then again, I’d use a Paperwhite more often that the ice cream machine I have in my kitchen closet.

With everything Amazon has packed into these new tablets, I can almost justify having both a Kindle Fire and an iPad in my life.

What do you think? Will the Kindle Fire cut into iPad sales or is it a case of Apples and oranges?