Amazon has announced a $139 entry level tablet that is branded as the Kindle Fire HD. This is a brand new device that has upgraded specs from the prior Kindle Fire models. The 7 inch touchscreen has a resolution of 1280×800 pixels, 66% more pixels than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire HDX feature 7″ or 8.9″ HDX display, a Qualcomm 800 quad-core 2.2 GHz processor with 3x the processing power, 2x more memory, 11 hours of battery life, and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio. Amazon’s HDX display features 1920×1200 at 323 ppi for 7″, 2560×1600 at 339 ppi for 8.9″.
The new Adreno 330 graphics engine on Kindle Fire HDX is said to deliver 4x the graphics performance of the previous generation Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Tablet starts at $229. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ Tablet starts at $379. Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ 4G features 700 MHz LTE technology for AT&T and Verizon (but not Sprint or T-Mobile). The HDX tablets ship next month.
The new Kindle Fire tablets are powered by the latest version of Fire OS, Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito”, which starts with Android and adds cloud services, a content-forward user interface, built-in media libraries, productivity apps, and low-level platform enhancements. It is based on the Jellybean version of Android and is more heavily skinned then ever before. This new update takes a myriad of customer concerns and addresses them in a new experience.
“Two years ago, we revolutionized the tablet industry with the breakthrough $199 price point for tablets—now we’re doing it again with the $139 price point,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “$139 now gets you a 1280×800 216 ppi HD display, a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, Fire OS 3.0, dual speakers with Dolby audio, vast selection and Amazon-exclusive features like Prime Instant Video downloads, Second Screen, Kindle FreeTime, X-Ray and more.”
Amazon has borrowed a page out of Kobo’s playbook by integrating their own “Reading Mode” which they call “Quiet Time.” It will disable many of the common things that distract you when you are reading a book. One of the biggest new features is a program called Mayday. It has video tutorials and common questions on all of the essential features.
Mayday is a single-click, hardware-support solution that lets users work with a remote tech support. The service, unique to Amazon, allows you to see the remote tech support person in a small window on your screen and also displays your screen on the support person’s computer where they can watch what you’re doing online, annotate the screen, and even tap through the interface.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said it’s like “actually very similar to having someone standing next to you” and offering tech support. The company built a full infrastructure to support it at their HQ in Seattle and on board the hardware.
Amazon is making offline viewing available for some of its Prime Instant Videos.
The Second Screen app allows you to fling content from the Fire to the TV, turning the TV into the primary screen and freeing up their Fire as a second screen to email, browse the web, play a game, or follow along scene-by-scene with X-Ray. The Fire screen is not just a mirror image of the TV. Instead, when the customer flings the video to the TV, Fire syncs the video and the X-Ray data in the cloud and streams the video directly to the TV, so the quality of the video is not dependent the tablet’s processor or networking.
The 7-inch HDX model starts at $229 and will start shipping October 18th, and the 8.9-inch model starts at $379 and will start shipping November 7th.
Both HDX tablets can be purchased with or without Amazon’s “Special Offers” advertisements, with or without Verizon or AT&T LTE connectivity, and in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities.
Last year’s 7-inch 1280×800 Kindle Fire HD tablet will still be sold with Amazon’s new operating system and a slightly faster 1.5GHz OMAP4 SoC starting at $139 for an 8GB model—this upgraded model goes on sale October 2nd. All three models can be pre-ordered from Amazon starting now.
In other news, Kobo recently announced the Arc 10 HD, a 10-inch tablet with one of the best resolutions in the business with 2560×1600 pixels, compared to the Apple iPad 4th generation 2048 × 1536 pixel display.
Powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core 1.8 GHZ processor, it also packs 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage space. Kobo intends to release it with Android 4.2.2, which should provide a number of new features.
Kobo currently has a massive eBook ecosystem with over 3.5 million titles. Their new magazine section includes publishers such as Forbes, Conde Nast, Playboy, Rogers, Hearst, and tons more. The entire system will launch in October. Kobo’s ePub reader may be among the first to fully support E-Pub-3.