Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX to Take on iPads (Update 1)

Updated from 8:19 a.m. EDT to provide analyst comments in the 10th paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos has always been considered an innovator. His latest innovation is announcing new products at the stroke of midnight.

At 12 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Amazon updated its Kindle Fire tablet line, launching 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions of the Kindle Fire HDX to help take on Apple's (AAPL) iPad, which still has the top spot in the tablet market, with 32.4%, according to tech research firm IDC.

Amazon doesn't break out how many units it sells, but IDC estimated in the first quarter of 2013 that it had 3.7% of the tablet market. By the second quarter, Amazon had dropped out of IDC's top five tablet makers, with Apple, Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo, and Acer taking the top spots.

The 7-inch tablet starts at $229, while the larger 8.9-inch version starts at $379.

"These are powerhouse tablets," Bezos wrote in a letter posted on Amazon's Web site. "We added the latest graphics engine, doubled the memory, and tripled the processing power with the most advanced 2.2 GHz quad-core processor. Our HDX displays bring together exceptional pixel density (up to 339 ppi), perfect 100% sRGB color accuracy, improved brightness, and dynamic image contrast. You also get up to 11 hours of battery life--17 hours when you're reading."

Bezos also noted that the new tablets, including the 8.9-inch version, are "startlingly light." It weighs 13.2 ounces, 34% lighter than the Kindle Fire HD, which Amazon unveiled in Santa Monica last year.

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