Amazon chips away at iPad lead with new Kindle Fire HDX

Faith Merino · September 25, 2013 · Short URL:

Tread lightly, Apple.

On the two-year anniversary of the very first Kindle Fire release, Amazon is stepping up its game with a brand new tablet: the Kindle HDX. It has also revamped the Kindle Fire HD and lowered the price. Now, you can get the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD with special offers for $139. Wowsa! (I felt like somebody needed to say ‘wowsa.’)

While the iPad mini stagnates, the Kindle Fire HDX is blasting away the competition with a bevy of new features and specs.

First the specs: the tablet comes with the fastest processor on a 7-inch tablet—a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. The display comes with a resolution of 1920x1200. The 7-inch tablet weighs all of 10.7 ounces for the Wi-Fi version and 11 ounces for the 3G version. And the battery life includes up to 11 hours of reading time, surfing the Web, or watching movies on Wi-Fi. When you’re just reading, the battery life extends to 17 hours.

Both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets come with a front and rear-facing camera (as opposed to 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, which has no front-facing camera), you can skype as well as edit and share photos.

And the Kindle Fire HDX comes with something new—a “Mayday” customer support button, which actually brings up a one-on-one video call with a customer support rep who can remotely take control of your tablet to fix whatever problem you’re experiencing. And Mayday help personnel will be available 24 hours a day, all 365 days of the year, which means—yes—when you unwrap your Kindle Fire HDX on Christmas morning and don’t know how to do all the things, some poor schmuck will be on hand to talk you off a ledge.

Even more exciting than the actual HDX tablet, however, is the fact that both the HDX and the HD tablets will run Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito,” which comes with a wide range of new features. For starters: now Prime members will be able to download Prime Instant Video movies and TV shows for offline viewing. This is a big deal when you’re stuck on a plane with a toddler.

One of the features that will be available in October is the ability to “fling” movies and TV shows that you’re watching on your tablet to your TV using Second Screen. You can then use your tablet for playback controls or X-Ray viewing. The Second Screen feature will be compatible with PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (later this year), and Samsung TVs.

X-Ray is getting a new upgrade too. Now you can tap any scene of a movie or TV show to get actors names and bios, other movies they’ve appeared in, the names of songs that are playing, character bios and backstories, and more. And now you can get X-Ray for music too, so when you’re listening to a song, you can see lyrics, photos, videos, and so on.

And now you can organize all of your content with Cloud Collections, which lets you group books, apps, movies, and TV shows into categories like “sports apps” or “favorite books,” etc. Cloud Collections syncs to all of your devices.

Mojito will also come with a bunch of enterprise features, including the ability to print from your tablet, as well as connect to your company’s intranet remotely. The new OS really ups the ante on security, and all corporate data is protected through encryption.

The Kindle Fire HD starts at $139 and ships October 2, while the HDX starts at $229 (Wi-fi only with special offers) and ships October 18. Both are available for pre-order now. 


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