Amazon updates tablet range with Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch and 8.9-inch models

25 Sep 2013

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets

The latest from Amazon’s Kindle Fire line-up offers sleeker design, more powerful processing and high-resolution displays that are readable no matter where you are.

Starting with the display improvements, the Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch and HDX 8.9-inch tablets both feature high-resolution displays with 100pc sRGB colour accuracy, improved brightness, reduced glare and dynamic image contrast to ensure the screen can still be read in all situations, including direct sunlight.

In terms of pixel density, the 8.9-inch version is packing 1m pixels at 339ppi, while the 7-inch offers 323ppi.

These tablets also offer three times more processing power than the previous Kindle Fire HD family, thanks to a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. Added to that is twice the memory and a GPU that’s four times faster than the earlier models.

All this is held up by a battery supporting around 11 hours of power, but there’s also a special reading mode that uses low-power and offers up to 17 hours of use.

There’s also a HD front-facing camera on both models and an 8MP rear camera shooting 1080p HD video for the 8.9-inch model.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet

And all of that hardware has been packed into a smaller package that’s both thinner and lighter than the original Fire models. For example, the 374g 8.9-inch model weighs 34pc less than its predecessor.

Fire OS 3.0 Mojito

The new Kindle Fire HDX range runs on Amazon’s updated operating system, Fire OS 3.0 – also known as Mojito. New features include greater enterprise compatibility supporting encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure Wi-Fi connections and VPN integration for the business user.

For entertainment users, Second Screen will let them send movies and TV shows they’re watching to their TV at home. They can then use their tablet to follow along with X-Ray for Movies and TV, which has been improved to let users see song titles from movie soundtracks as they play in scenes, as well as trivia, bloopers, character back-stories, and all the usual movie information powered by IMDb.

Mojito also adds X-Ray for Music to its repertoire, creating synchronised lyrics on-screen for a sing-along.

Amazon Prime Instant Video users will also now be able to download content for offline viewing, which will have improved sound thanks to dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio.

Mayday - Amazon Fire OS 3.0

Finally, there’s Mayday, an app to launch 24/7 customer support with just a tap. Assistants appear in a small video window and can annotate the user’s screen with arrows and even touch UI items. This support service can be accessed for free anytime the user is online.

US pre-orders for the new tablets have already kicked off with prices starting at US$229 for a 16GB Wi-Fi 7-inch model and rising to US$479 for a 4G-equipped 8.9-inch device. The 7-inch will start shipping in October, while the first of the 8.9-inch models will arrive in November.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.