Amazon has just officially announced the second generation followup to their fairly successful Kindle Fire HD 8.9. The new model has the HDX moniker and has some of the best resolution in the business. Many upgrades are under the hood and some new software will really make these more accessible to the general public.
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 features a 8.9 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 2560x1600p pixels with 339 ppi. The 7 inch HDX has a resolution of 1920×1200 at 323 PPI. Amazon is hyping up reduced glare, dynamic image contrast, and improved brightness for better viewing in any lighting conditions.
Underneath the hood is a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor that is running at 2.2 GHZ and 2 GB of RAM. There is also a dedicated on-board graphics with the Adreno 330 graphics engine. All of these things combined will be one seriously powerful unit that will be able to tap into the extensive Amazon App Store and be able to run any app or game that you can throw at it. It will also be useful for viewing videos and movies as part of Amazon Video. Amazon has the speakers at the top of the device now and audiobooks/movies will sound really good with Dolby Audio.
One of the most interesting aspects of the 8.9 inch is the frame, it is comprised of a single-piece of machined magnesium with a blend of glass and nylon molded onto the uni-body to create openings for the antennas and maximize signal strength without sacrificing sturdiness. The result is the lightest large-screen tablet—at just 13.2 ounces, it is 34% lighter than the previous generation large-screen Fire HD tablet.
Battery life is fairly respectable with 11 hours of general usage and a low-powered mode if you just read. If you just read Kindle books you can glean 17 hours, which makes it a fairly solid e-reader. It can also take pictures with the rear facing 8 MP camera and shoot videos too.
Amazon not only has released a fairly amazing tablet but they have a innovative new case that will be available to purchase. The company is billing it as origami and magnetically attaches to the tablet. The back of it has a bunch of different positions that you can employ, depending on your surface area. It works both in landscape and portrait mode and functions as a sleep cover too.
Both of the HDX 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 to integrate Amazon’s digital content and improve performance for Kindle Fire tablets. You can think of this as the Jeallybean Android OS with a ton of custom software. One of the big elements is MAYDAY, which gives you live human help addressing problems, questions and concerns. Readers will like the “Quiet Time” feature, that will disable prompts and popups from apps.
It will be very interesting to put these two tablets through the paces. As always, you can get them at a subsidized cost by opting into the “Special Offers” edition which will serve you adverts on the home screen and screensaver. You will also be able to get the 4G version which has a later shipping date. The 7” Kindle Fire HDX is $229. It is available for pre-order starting today and it will begin shipping October 18. The 4G version is $329—you can pre-order today and it will begin shipping November 14.
The 8.9” Kindle Fire HDX is $379. It is available for pre-order starting today and it will begin shipping on November 7. The 4G version is $479 you can pre-order today and it will begin shipping December 10.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.