The wait is over; Amazon announced its two new Kindle Fire tablets Wednesday, and both sport super hi-res displays, extremely fast chipsets and several other innovative features.
The new Kindle Fire HDX tablets come in screen sizes of 7 inches and 8.9 inches with resolutions of 1920 x 1200 (323 pixels per inch) and 2560 x 1600 (339 pixels per inch) respectively.
The tablets have a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which makes them up to three times faster than the Kindle Fire HD tablets, twice the RAM at 2GB and run the Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito" user interface – a forked version of Android 4.3 – to offer a new email client, an upgrade to the Amazon Silk web browsing engine and a novel new troubleshooting solution.
However, Amazon isn’t just pushing the boundaries of innovation on the hardware specs but on how consumers consume content too.
The tablets can be used to send video to an Internet-Connected TV or games console, while users can enter low-power when reading books, allowing them to read for up to 17 hours at a time.
There’s also the option for Amazon Prime customers to download subscription movies or TV shows for offline viewing (you could previously only stream these from the tablet), the new X-Ray for Music portal and the innovative Mayday feature, which lets users ask for help from a live human technician.
Furthermore, there’s clearly been some improvement on the accessories front too, as the new Origami cover doubles up as a secure dual-position stand. The cover is available in leather and polyurethane and comes in either different colors.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX comes in at $239 and is due to ship on October 25, while the 8.9-inch version, with an 8MP camera on the rear, will ship on November 7 for $379. 4G versions will be available on both for $100 extra, while the Origami covers will range from $45 to $70, based on the chosen size and material.
There’s also some good news for Kindle Fire fans with less cash to burn and that is that last year’s 7-inch Kindle Fire HD has been updated. Now with a slightly tweaked design and running Kindle Fire 3.0, the tablet drops from $199 to $139 to become Amazon’s entry-level slate.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said on Twitter that the launch is evidence that tablets, like the Kindle Fire HDX models, are about to become big business this holiday season.
“There is no question that this holiday season will be more about tablets than smartphones – [and] with prices as low as the new Kindle Fire HD [at] $139 [it is] easy to see why.”