03:05 - Source: CNN
Amazon debuts upgraded Kindle Fire

Story highlights

Kindle Paperwhite e-reader will feature a touchscreen and a fiber-optic lighting system

Amazon rolled out two Kindle Fires: a new version of the current tablet and bigger Kindle Fire HD

The updated Kindle Fire will sell for $159 and ship on September 14

A 4G version of the larger Kindle Fire HD will be available for $499

Santa Monica, California CNN —  

A new, high-definition Kindle with a lighting system and a bigger Kindle Fire tablet topped the list of gadgets rolled out by Amazon on Thursday at a splashy event in an aircraft hangar.

“We love to invent. We love to pioneer. We even like going down alleys that turn out to be blind alleys,” CEO Jeff Bezos told reporters and other guests. “Every once in a while those blind alleys turn into broad avenues. And that turns out to be lots of fun.”

The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader will feature 62 percent more pixels than the Kindle Touch, Bezos said. It will have a touchscreen and be lit with a fiber-optic lighting system that has been in development for four years, he said.

Bezos predicted users will “leave the light on all the time” and said the device will have eight weeks of battery life, even with its light on.

Amazon on Thursday unveiled an HD model of its Kindle Fire tablet with an 8.9-inch screen.
Amazon on Thursday unveiled an HD model of its Kindle Fire tablet with an 8.9-inch screen.

It’s slightly thinner than the Kindle Touch and, at 7.6 ounces, the same weight.

A new feature called Time to Read will estimate, based on the reader’s speed turning pages, how long it will take to finish the current chapter or the entire book.

The Wi-Fi-only version will cost $119 and 3G versions will be $179. The WiFi-only model is $20 less than Barnes & Noble’s rival Nook Glowlight, priced at $139. Pre-orders began Thursday and the device ships on October 1.

The original style, non-touchscreen Kindle also will remain available, with its price dropping to $69 for the ad-supported version.

Bezos also rolled out new Kindle Fires: a new version of the current tablet, which he says is 40 percent faster and has a longer battery life; and two sizes of a fancier Kindle Fire HD.

The Fire HDs will have either a 7-inch or an 8.9-inch screen. The big one is nearly two inches bigger than the current Fire’s 7-inch display and slightly smaller than the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen.