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Amazon's new $99 tablet and $79 e-reader

Amazon's new $99 tablet and $79 e-reader

With Apple dominating the news, I didn't want you to miss the latest from Amazon. Yes, it's got some new items, and you'll really want to know about them.

Let's start with something anyone can appreciate - a truly budget tablet. Amazon says it is tired of lousy-quality budget tablets, so it made one it hopes will be better.

It's called the Fire HD 6 - Amazon is dropping the "Kindle" name from everything but its e-readers. A 6-inch tablet isn't exactly huge, but it has a speedy processor, a nice display, and front and rear cameras, along with Amazon's special version of Android and five case colors.

The best part, though, is that it will only cost you $99 for the 8 gigabyte version with Special Offers. If you want to bump up the screen size to 7 inches, its larger sibling the new Fire HD 7 has the same specs and starts at $139.

Amazon already has features for families built into its tablets, like parental controls, FreeTime and account sharing. However, it's now making tablets even more kid friendly.

Both the HD 6 and HD 7 have a "Kids Edition." It bumps up the price by $50, but adds a colorful protective case, a two-year "worry-free" guarantee, and one year of FreeTime Unlimited. FreeTime Unlimited gives kids "unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games."

If you have kids on your Christmas shopping list - and you're tired of them borrowing your tablet all the time - this could be the ticket.

On the other end of the price spectrum is the upgrade to the Fire HDX 8.9. It gets a better screen, faster processor, faster Wi-Fi and the Firefly feature from Amazon's Fire Phone. It still starts at $379.

Want to see how these tablets stack up? Click here for my handy Amazon tablet comparison chart.

Enough with the tablets, let's talk about Kindle e-readers. The budget Kindle got a bit of a speed boost and a touch screen for the same price of $79.

The big news, however, is the all-new Kindle Voyage. Amazon is calling it the closest thing to reading a real book you can buy.

The 6-inch screen has a higher resolution and is brighter than any previous Kindle. It's thin - less than a third of an inch - and the magnesium case is a super-light 6.3 ounces - a typical paperback book is one to two pounds.

There's a new "page-turning" system called PagePress that lets you go to the next page by squeezing the edge you're holding a little harder. Add that to the 6 week claimed battery life, 4GB of storage and an adaptive front-lit screen and it really does start to sound like the ultimate reading experience.

Of course, that does come at a cost. The Wi-Fi version starts at $199, and the Wi-Fi + Free 3G starts at $269. The 3G versions does offer free 3G for life, which is handy for downloading new books on the go. Still, that's a chunk of change compared to the still-excellent Kindle Paperwhite or a budget tablet.

See how the new Kindle Voyage stacks up to other e-readers on the market.

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