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Amazon's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD now shipping

The Kindle Fire HD was announced back in September, but the impressively decked-out 8.9-inch version wasn't ready to ship until today. If you've been thinking about buying into Amazon's ecosystem but yearned for a larger screen than the original Fire HD, this could be your chance.

The new device has a 1920x1080 (1080p) screen at 254 pixels per inch, which is close enough to the new iPad's 264 ppi that the difference wouldn't be noticeable. But of course the $299 Fire HD's nearest neighbor in price isn't the iPad, but the $329 iPad Mini, and without question the Kindle's display blows the Mini's out of the water.

We reviewed the smaller, 7-inch Fire HD shortly after it was announced, and while we liked it as a media consumption device, we were a bit disappointed at its lack of versatility. With the larger, more expensive 8.9-inch version, that lack might be even more emphasized.

If you mainly want a tablet for watching TV and movies, reading books, and playing the occasional game, the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD seems (as we noted when it was announced) to be a real bargain. But app collectors and form-factor fetishists will naturally gravitate towards the useful, well-built iPads.

You can get the new tablet, in 16GB or 32GB and with or without 4G or built-in ads, at Amazon. There's currently a 2-week delay on shipment, but people who pre-ordered or got their order in first thing today should be receiving theirs in the next few days.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is