Amazon Unveils New Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

Amazon has made a fresh of its Kindle Fire tablet computers line and unveils new Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

The Kindle Fire HDX is the online retail giant’s new flagship device, coming in two sizes – and with included technical support available at the touch of a button. Photo: almudenafernandezrios/ Flickr

The new Kindle Fire HDX and a refreshed, cut-price Kindle HD were unveiled at a series of private press events on Tuesday. It announced two new versions of its tablets—the Kindle Fire HDX—available with 7-inch or 8.9-inch screens.

The tablets, which come at the same time as a flurry of new entrants from competitors such as Samsung Electronics Co., include a faster processor and graphics, improved screen quality and new software features, as well as a tweaked design to make them lighter, with a slimmer body, says the Wall Street Journal.

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” said Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos in an interview.

The HDX devices are powered by a brilliant 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, a far improved Adreno 330 graphics processor and boast 11 hours of battery life.

The HDX also comes with a ground-breaking screen with 2560-1600 pixels (on the 8.9-inch model) and 1920 x 1200 pixels on the 7 inch. Both these displays have higher resolutions than the current-generation iPads – though Apple’s updated tablet range isn’t due until next month at the earliest.

Weighing in at 13.2 ounces (374g), the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX is 34 per cent lighter than the previous generation. It also features a front-facing HD camera for Skype calls and a new 8 megapixel rear-facing camera for taking photos and 1080p HD video.

They also come with “X-Ray for Music”, which displays the lyrics of songs as they play and automatically scrolls line by line, as well as “Second Screen”, which turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your Fire HDX to provide playback controls.

Kindle Fire HDX tablet features what Amazon has called the “Mayday Button,” a panic button that calls up a tech-support representative right on the screen, who can then tell a user how to operate the device or do it for them remotely.

The service, free for HDX customers, is Amazon’s way of trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded field of devices that perform much the same functions.

“MayDay” will be available any day or hour, and is shooting for a maximum 15-second response time. Users can move the video box around the screen as it suits them, and they cannot be seen by the Amazon representative. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the company was training reps by the thousands and will hire more if needed.

The Kindle Fire HD is thinner, lighter and cheaper than before, says the ABC News. The device has a 7-inch, 1280 x 800-resolution screen and a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor that’s faster than last year’s model.

The tablet still runs Amazon’s own version of Android, now called Fire OS, and has features like the X-Ray for movies, which breaks out characters in the movie and tells you what they were in before.

The Kindle Fire HDX starts at $229 for the 7-inch version and $379 for the 8.9-inch version, and models with 4G wireless connectivity are $100 more each.

By contrast, Apple’s iPad Mini is $329 to start, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab starts at $299 and Microsoft Corp.’s new Surface 2, unveiled this week, is $449 for a 32-gigabyte version.

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