Software highlights include: Whispersync with Voice, which lets you listen to an audio book, bookmark your place and then switch to the e-book version; X-ray for movies lets you pause a video and look up an actor on-screen; and FreeTime creates different profiles for each person in the family, so that parents can limit their kids' screen time.
But the question remains: Is the Kindle Fire HD a threat to Apple's iPad or Google's Nexus 7?
Kindle Fire HD offers a 16 gigabyte 7-inch model for $199 and 8.9-inch model for $299. A 32 GB 4G LTE model retails for $499. The iPad also has three options: 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599 and 64GB for $699. The Nexus 7 comes in an 8GB model, for $199.
Amazon is competitive with Apple and Google in two different ways: The Kindle Fire HD is cheaper than the iPad, for the same storage space. And for the same price as a Nexus 7, Amazon offers double the storage capacity. But this is only a straight price comparison.
When it comes of software, this is where the Kindle Fire HD may have some tough competition. Apple's mobile operating system iOS is incredibly popular and central to the iPad experience. Apple's App Store has a robust community of developers that release a steady stream of new apps. Google also has an advantage over Amazon in this regard. The Nexus 7 will be the first to have the new Android operating system - the Kindle Fire runs a modified version of Android.
Hardware is a hit-or-miss for Amazon. The Kindle Fire HD's 8.9-inch model has a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display, while the 7-inch model has a 1,280 x 800 display. The iPad features 2,048 x 1,536 Retina Display, which has been a marketing boon for Apple. But the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is on par with the Nexus 7 1,280 x 800 display, making it slightly more competitive when you take into consideration price and storage space.
The fact that Amazon is one of the biggest retail websites also gives the company a huge advantage. Google Play, which was only launched this year, doesn't have the years of registered customers that Amazon does. And while Apple's App Store is hugely popular, Amazon is not far behind. A recent comparison of relative revenue generated by the iTunes App Store, Amazon Appstore and Google Play revealed that for every dollar Apple makes, Amazon takes in $0.89, while Google takes in $0.23. The study, which was conducted by mobile analytics firm Flurry, measured 11 million daily active users over a 45-day period.
The Kindle Fire and Fire HD seems like it's targeted at consumers who want to watch movies, play games, check emails and hang out on Facebook. Ultimately, the choice in what tablet to buy is determined by how you plan to use the device. The fact that Whispersync, X-ray for movies and FreeTime were highlighted Thursday suggests that the tablets are designed for families and everyday users.
Where Amazon wins is with the average person, rather than specs-obsessed tech junkies. After all, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos emphasized on Thursday that the Kindle Fire is a service, not a gadget.