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7in Kindle Fire HD hits UK as Amazon unveils new tablet lineup

Amazon has unveiled a new Kindle Fire lineup, which includes a revamped version of the original tablet, as well as 7in and 8.9in versions of the new Kindle Fire HD. The 7in model will become the first of the firm's tablet range to be released in the UK.

The 7in Kindle Fire HD will cost £159, and the lower-end Kindle Fire £129. Both will be available for delivery from 25 October, reports the BBC.

A 16GB, 8.9in version will be launched in the US for $299, and the retailer will also sell a 32GB Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE connectivity for $499.

The original, 7in Kindle Fire received an upgraded processor that is 20 per cent faster than its predecessor, as well as double the RAM for 40 per cent faster performance and longer battery life, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The larger, 8.9in Kindle Fire HD, meanwhile, boasts a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display with 254 pixels per inch. There's also an HD front-facing camera, HDMI out, and Bluetooth. It will run a TI OMAP4470 processor. The smaller, 7in Kindle Fire HD that is reaching our shores has similar specs, save for the display size.

Those in the States who opt for the 4G LTE version of the 8.9in Kindle Fire HD will pay $49.99 (£31) per year for 250MB of monthly data, 20GB of cloud storage, and a $10 Amazon Appstore credit.

Bezos talked up the polarising filter on the Kindle Fire HD, as well as a laminated touch sensor that prevents air gaps and produces 25 per cent less glare and a sharper contrast.

The device includes two Wi-Fi antennas; if your hand obscures one antenna, the other one can take over. The 2.4GHz band has been around 15 years and it's become unbelievably crowded, Bezos said, so the Kindle Fire HD taps into a second band, 5 GHz. Bezos compared the Kindle Fire HD to the new iPad and Nexus 7; the iPad 3 is dual band but only has one antenna; the Nexus 7 is single band.

One of the features coming to the Kindle Fire HD includes X-Ray for movies; tap on the screen for details about those on the screen. Users will also be able to incorporate audio books thanks to a deal with Audible; listen to a book and follow along on the screen with bi-modal reading.

Bezos also announced Whispersync for Games, which stores all unlocked levels in the Amazon cloud so you can pick up where you left off on another device. There will also be custom apps from Facebook and Skype, which will take advantage of that front-facing camera.

For those who will be letting their kids use the Kindle Fire HD, the device includes various profiles for children, as well as a screen that glows blue during FreeTime mode so parents can keep tabs on tablet activity even across the room.

Bezos argued that Android tablets are floundering because they're gadgets and people don't want gadgets; "they want services," he said. Naturally, Bezos considers the Kindle Fire to be a service. It greets you by name, comes with pre-loaded content, makes recommendations, and stores everything in the cloud, he said. Still, "hardware is a critical part of [that] service," Bezos continued.