As expected, the big news at today's gadget-filled Amazon event is the successor to the Kindle Fire, which was launched in New York, roughly this time last year. It's not the Fire 2, however -- this is the Kindle Fire HD. It's clear the minute you grab hold of it that Amazon wanted to start over with this device in a number of ways. There's none of that OEM build quality from the first go-round. This is a nice, slim device that really feels as though it can stand up to some of the nicer Android tablets out there -- we'd certainly put our initial impressions of build up there with the Nexus 7, which just happens to share the same screen size and 1280 x 800 resolution.
The corners of the tablet are more rounded than its predecessor, with a glossy bezel going around the display -- a little bit of the rubberized backing creeps out on top of this. There are no buttons here, however. If you want to effect the screen, give it a tap and you get a small virtual menu on the side. As advertised, the display is quite vivid. Amazon talked up the decrease of glare, though it was a bit hard to tell just how successful the company was, given the fact that we're indoors. The device has a matte rear, with that stereo speaker going down a line in a middle, vents on either side.
Performance-wise, this seemed pretty snappy running off a heavily-skinned version of Android 4.0, and we got the pre-loaded (at least on Amazon's own tablet) Hunger Games movie to load quite quickly, thanks no doubt to all of the investment the company put into the WiFi side of this device. Interestingly, there was a little lag as we were flipping through the pages of a book, with the Fire doing a little loading every few pages or so.
Myriam Joire contributed to this report.