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Amazon launches two new Kindles

Amazon, the online retail giant, has announced a complete refresh of its tablet computer and e-reader devices, including a special child-friendly version of their Fire HD tablet.

The Seattle-based firm announced new two versions of their e-reader device - the Kindle - will start shipping in October, as well as a new Fire HDX tablet that is designed to compete with the iPad Air.

The announcement in New York completes an impressive round of hardware news from the e-commerce firm, after already confirming plans to bring both their TV streaming box, Fire TV and the company's first smartphone - the Fire Phone - to the UK for the first time.

This latest move from Amazon comes at the end of a busy summer for consumer technology, with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hitting stores worldwide tomorrow, and Samsung having introduced a new version of their 6-inch smartphone, the Galaxy Note, that comes complete with a curved screen on one side, operating as a news ticker and notification bar. The Korean company's new devices start arriving in October.

In a stream of announcements, Amazon has launched two new Kindle e-readers, including the Voyage, which the company says is the thinnest e-reader ever at 0.3ins (7.8mm).

The device weighs only 6.34oz (180 grams) and has been shown off alongside a new version of the original Kindle, which will have a touch display for the first time. The Voyage also has the clearest display Amazon has ever created, with it containing 300 pixels per inch.

E-readers have always been a key piece of hardware for Amazon, and senior vice president of devices David Limp said: "We want to continue to encourage people to read more. We believe society is a better place if we all read more."

The company also showed off three new tablets for the first time, including the new Fire HDX 8.9 - a size that puts it in direct competition with Apple's iPad. The HDX, which will start shipping in October, has 1 million more pixels on screen than Apple's device however, and is also lighter.

Amazon also squared itself off with Microsoft and their Surface Pro tablet by announcing their first Bluetooth keyboard to go with the tablet.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said: "The team has packed an incredible amount of technology and innovation into the new Fire HDX-an incredible HDX display, a powerful quad-core processor, a 70% faster graphics engine, exceptional audio, and faster Wi-Fi-and it's still startlingly light.

"Fire HDX combines excellent hardware with exclusive features from Fire OS4 including Firefly, the Mayday button, Family Library, ASAP and more."

On the new range as a whole, Mr Limp was confident Amazon could challenge the likes of Apple and Samsung in catching consumer attention.

"It's been a busy year and we're super excited to see this many products launch so customers can enjoy them. I think we're a real product company when it comes to consumer electronics, and devices are important."

The new range of Fire HD tablets come in two sizes and five colours, but the most interesting aspect of Amazon's smaller tablet is the introduction of the Kids Edition.

This unique version of the tablet runs a simplified mobile operating system that is icon-based designed for younger users to take advantage of apps and other media.

Amazon confirmed that the Kids Edition will contain their Free Time software, which will enable parents to set time limits on what apps can be used on a device, as well as goals and rewards for logging reading and educational app time.

Although the Kids Edition has not yet been given a UK release date, Amazon confirmed that all the other new devices are now available to order online.

Technology giant and rival Apple is expected to update their own tablet, the iPad, at an event as early as next month.

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