In a blast of announcements, Amazon has just announced three new Fire tablets as well as a new Kindle e-reader. For its late 2014 line-up, Amazon has announced a pair of new budget Fire tablets, a revamped Fire HDX 8.9 and a Fire HD Kids Edition. Additionally, all of the new Fire tablets run on Fire OS 4 “Sangria,” which works to revamp the UI and add new features like better prediction capabilities.
First on the list is the pair of Fire HD tablets that were announced. The 6-inch Fire HD sets a new precedent for price at just $99, while the larger 7-inch version comes in at $139. Both tablets are offered in black, white, cobalt, magenta and citron. Specs for the tablets include a display resolution of 1280×800, MediaTek 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 8/16GB storage, 2-megapixel rear camera, front-facing VGA camera and an estimated 8 hours of battery life. Amazon also reports that the Fire HD tablets are designed for durability and are 2 to 20 times less likely to break than other tablets on the market. Both models are available for pre-order and ship in October.
Fire HD Kids Edition
Next up is the Fire HD Kids Edition, which is Amazon’s first tablet designed specifically for children and could be the one that finally makes the segment take off. The Fire HD Kids Edition features all of the same specs as the Fire HD models and is also available in 6-inch and 7-inch sizes. The Kids Edition adds a massive shock barrier to the outside of the tablet to increase durability and grip, though it should be noted that the tablet isn’t waterproof.
Amazon is throwing in a 2-year guarantee to replace the Fire HD Kids Edition if it breaks. Just send the broken device back to Amazon and they’ll send you a new one with no questions asked. Finally, Amazon is including a year of its FreeTime Unlimited service to keep kids entertained with kid-friendly apps, games and TV shows as well as giving parents plenty of controls. To make it even more child-friendly, Amazon isn’t including its usual ads on the device and is also working to restrict ads in apps and games as well as in-app purchases. The 6-inch model costs $149 and the 7-inch model has a pricetag of $189. Both tablets are available for pre-order and ship in October.
Fire HDX 8.9
Amazon has also refreshed the Fire HDX 8.9. The Fire HDX 8.9 retains the same design as last year’s model but throws in a couple of upgrades to make it more appealing. The processor has been bumped up to a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 chip and the sound quality has been improved with Dolby’s new Atmos sound engine. The Fire HDX 8.9 is available for the same $379 prices as last year’s Wi-Fi model, with the LTE version carrying a slightly heftier price tag of $479. The tablet is available for pre-order and ships in October.
Amazon has also introduced two new accessories for the Fire HDX 8.9: an Origami Cover and Bluetooth keyboard. The Origami Cover is thin and light and includes the ability to create a stand for the device. The Bluetooth keyboard is being called the thinnest and lightest full-featured keyboard in the biz. While it doesn’t attach directly to the tablet as a stand, it can clip into the Origami cover to create a stand. Amazon is selling the Origami Cover for $54.99 and the Fire Keyboard for $59.99. They’re both available now.
Fire OS 4
Outside of the hardware realm, Amazon introduced its Fire OS 4, also known as “Sangria.” Fire OS 4 offers a visual refresh to Fire OS, making it faster and simpler to enter apps from icons rather than scrolling through an endless list of apps, games, movies, books and all the other content on your device. Profiles are also a new addition, allowing different people to set up their own accounts on the tablet.
Fire OS 4 is based on KitKat and includes battery improvements such as Smart Suspend, which turns wireless services on and off when the tablet isn’t in use to save power. Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) is included to learn from your habits and readies movies and TV shows that you might be interested in. Finally, Fire OS 4 is bringing Firefly to the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. Firefly is Amazon’s software that allows you to search practically anything in the world through camera, sound and other methods and then find it on Amazon to purchase. Fire OS 4 is included on all of the new Fire devices announced today and will be rolling out to 3rd-gen Fire tablets and the Fire phone in the coming months.
Are you interested in any of the new Fire devices?