Amazon debuts new e-readers, kid-friendly Fire

AP News
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Posted: Sep 17, 2014 9:34 PM
Amazon debuts new e-readers, kid-friendly Fire

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon keeps rolling out the devices.

The largest U.S. e-commerce company is introducing two new e-readers and new styles of its Kindle Fire HD tablet as part of a fall lineup of Kindle devices. The new and updated devices come on the heels of Amazon's Fire smartphone launch in June and the launch of a Fire set-top box that allows online video streaming to your TV in April.

With the new e-readers Amazon is trying to entice users to join its ecosystem of products and services by offering a variety of price points and products. Once a user has an Amazon device they are more likely to shell out for Amazon's $99-annual Prime loyalty club as well as buy movies, books and apps from the retailer.

All devices begin shipping in October, in time for the crucial holiday shopping season. Amazon's new devices will have to compete with a variety of tablets and smartphones, however — including Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — in order to win during the crucial season.

At the high end, Amazon has refreshed its Kindle Fire HDX with a sharper 8.9-inch display, better sound and faster processor, keeping the same $379 price tag.

It is also now offering Kindle Fire HD tablet in two sizes, with 6- and 7-inch screens, measured diagonally. The devices with a 6-inch screen start at $99, while the 7-inch screen starts at $139, down from $154.

Finally, Amazon is introducing a kids Kindle HD tablet, $149 for a six-inch screen and $189 for a 7-inch screen, that comes with a two-year warranty and a year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription-only service that offers access to a curated assortment of kid-friendly apps, books and videos.

The Fire HD Kids Edition also disables in-app purchases. That is key because Amazon is in the midst of a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it did not do enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases in the past. Apple and Google have settled with the FTC over similar charges, but Amazon has said it is not going to settle.

Amazon also debuted a new e-reader, called the Kindle Voyage, that costs $199 and features a glare-less screen and textured glass front. On the low end it is offering a $79 Kindle touch e-reader, the first time a touch screen has been available on an e-reader at that price. It will also continue to sell its mid-range $119 Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

Shares of the Seattle company fell $3.76 to close at $324 on Wednesday.