Amazon debuts the powerful Kindle Fire HDX 7 and 8.9
It wasn't too long ago whenAmazon's biggest tech achievement was trading online. Thingsure have changed since, for the e-tailer is quickly growing into aquite ambitious project, and one that seems to work. That's mostly thanks towhat has turned into somewhat of a magic formula for success in themobile industry – you don't necessarilyhave to hold content andhardware in both hands to make it through, but it surehelps a lot. What's interestingwith Amazon's new additions to its line-up of tablets is that thethey represent a testament to the company's ambitions, despite theirlack of hardware history. Just how good are the two new Kindle FireHDX tablets, though? Let's have a look.
New, sleeker design
Keepingto tradition, Amazon is again treating us with two nearly identicalversions of the same product, though they do differ in one prettymajor regard: size. What that means is that, like with the KindleFire HD before them, the new slates also come in a 7- and 8.9-inchversions. Both, however, have seen an extensive design overhaul –the tablets are now industrial-looking and sleeker, and also a fairbit lighter at 303 and 374 grams, respectively, as well as a tad morecompact. What's more, Amazon has, like LG, decided that hardwarebuttons' are meant to be on the back of a device, so those have beenmoved.
ButAmazon isn't about to drop the ball and rest on looks alone –the internals of the new tablets are beastly. We're talking 2.2GHzquad-core Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM and up to 11 hours of batterylife (17 hours in Reading Mode, more on that later). Still notimpressed? The pixel density on Amazon's new boys should help – the7-inch version sports a resolution of 1920x1200, or 323 ppi, while its bigger sibling has crossed into iPad territory with a2560x1600 resolution, or 339 ppi. The LCD displays on the new Kindlesare actually a point of pride for Amazon – they feature someinteresting sensor-based tech that will adjust contrast when brightenvironments threaten to overpower color fidelity. We'll be keeping an eye out for this.
Amazon's Fire OS 3.0 fork of Android is surprisingly good
Amazonhas been known for forking Android when it comes to its tablets, andthis isn't about to change. In fact, Amazon is releasing a newversion 3.0 of its Fire OS (aka Mojito), which brings a swath ofchanges both in UI design and features. We obviously haven't had achance to play with it just yet, though some of the seemingly notablechanges include a break-away from the carousel – there's now gridview for all the content on your tablet. Several mandatory apps, suchas Gmail, the calendar and document-editing apps have also beenimproved.
Asyou probably know, Amazon is quite big on reading, and if the trovesof content haven't made that obvious enough, then the all-new Reading Mode that we touched on before should. The new featurebasically shuts down all non-essential processes when you want to go for a read, which in turncranks battery lifetime to a reported 17 hours.
Anothervery interesting feature of Fire OS 3.0 is the so-called Maydayoption. Mayday represents a sort of a 24/7 remote helpline for HDXowners and is said to connect you to a live support rep in 15seconds, which sounds quite amazing. What's even more amazing is thatthe feature allows the user to see the actual person who's helpinghim troubleshoot in a small window on the tablet, whereas the Amazonemployee sees what's running on the customer's tablet. TheVerge hasalready reported that in their experience, the new service works asadvertised, and we can't deny that we're impressed and looking forward to testing it out for ourselves.
Priceand release date
Withthe holidays soon to be upon us, many of you will be in the marketfor some new goodies. Amazon's offerings usually qualify with ease as far as Christmas shopping goes, mainly because of the reallygreat price to quality ratio of their slates. Speaking of price, in the case of the HDX 7, it'll be $229/$269/$309 for the 16GB/32GB/64GB version, respectively,while those of you looking for some connectivity on the go will haveto dole out $329/$369/$409 for the 16GB/32GB/64GB 4G LTE version,respectively. Looking for some more real estate? Then the HDX 8.9 will set you back $379/$429/$479 for the 16GB/32GB/64GB version, respectively. If you've got 4G LTE on your mind, then you'll have to dip into your savings, it's $479/$529/$579 for the 16GB/32GB/64GB 4G LTE version, in that order.
Andif Christmas still appears distant to you, then we're happy to report thatAmazon is already taking preorders, though the new tabs won't start shipping until October 18, in the case of the 7-inch HDX, and November7, in the case of the 8.9 HDX.