Following the announcement of the new Paperwhite Kindle and a slightly cheaper old Kindle, Amazon officially announced not one, but two new Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets with no sign of the rumoured Amazon smartphone.
Helping you get to grips with the tablet duo that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos states is a ‘service’ instead of a gadget, here all you need to know about the Kindle Fire HD.
Build and design
The big news is that there Amazon has decided to offer two versions of its Kindle Fire tablet device with the 7-inch update of the original Kindle Fire and now a new 8.9-inch version which proved a popular tablet size with the T3 team when the Samsung 8.9 entered the offices.
The 8.9-inch version weighs in at 566g and measures in at 8.8mm thick making it more slender than the new Paperwhite Kindle. In terms of storage, Amazon has done away with the previous 8GB on the Kindle Fire and upped the capacity stakes to 16GB to accommodate the bigger file sizes with additional storage available in the cloud.
Running on a skinned version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a new Amazon Silk browser should also make for faster page downloads, full screen browsing and improved browsing. Users will also now be able to pin apps, videos and other content to the Kindle HD homscreen.
The 7-inch features a 1280×800 resolution HD display while the 8.9-inch sports a 1920×1200 resolution display both with tough Gorilla Glass protection.
The 8.9 Fire HD serves up 254 ppi which means it’s no match for clarity and vibrancy on the new iPad, but should be up there with the Nexus 7 in terms of multimedia friendliness. With IPS tech and advanced True Wide Polarizing Filter on board, the Kindle Fire HD should deliver bright images and excellent viewing angles.
Amazon has also laminated the touch insert on the top of the display which it believes will deliver 25% less glare making it even more ideal to use in the sunshine.
Processor and connectivity
Ramping up its Texas Instruments architecture from an OMAP 4430 processor to an OMAP 4470 dualcore chip, Amazon believes its processor tech is faster and better than the Tegra 3 and with SGX544 graphics engine should deliver in the gaming department as well.
The Kindle Fire will follow in the footsteps of the new iPad offering a dual band antenna (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) to increase the reliability of reception and avoid the issue of covering up the antenna. So there should be no antennagate here then…
What is MIMO?
Already available in some laptops, the Kindle Fire will be the first ever tablet to incorporate the data transfer accelerator that works across multiple antennas and improves downloading and streaming content.
Amazon claims that the MIMO support will make the Kindle Fire HD 54% faster than the Nexus 7 and 41% nippier than the new iPad in the Wi-Fi stakes.
Bluetooth and HDMI outputs are both on board, and while we are still waiting for the wonder that is 4G in the UK, customers in the US can take advantage of the speedier mobile data connection, as both Kindle Fire HD tablets will feature 4G LTE wireless.
Interestingly, when Amazon compared its 12 month data plan to one similarly available for the new iPad, it worked out at roughly $180 less than the same plan for the Apple tablet.The plan offers 250MB a month with 200GB of cloud storage and $10 Amazon app credit for $49.99
As well all of the Movies, TV Shows, Songs, Apps, Games, Books and Magazinesalready available through Amazon retail site, 100,000 audiobooks have now been added to the ranks courtesy of Audible. This also coincides nicely the introduction of WhisperSync on Voice means you can read an ebook then listen to it on an audiobook exactly where you left off.
Whispersync for Games
Also jumping aboard the Whispersync bandwagon, you’ll know get the same functionality for games that you have downloaded to your Kindle Fire HD, which essentially means if you reinstall a game on the device, unlocked levels in Angry Birds will be remembered so you don’t have plough through the game to get back to where you left off.
X-Ray and Immersion Reading
X-Ray Movies works as it does similarly for ebooks allowing you to look at the entire cast in a film for instance and learn more about the individual actors and actresses with all the detailed information provided by IMDB. Similarly you will now be able to do something similar with textbooks using the X-Ray feature to open up the contents chapter by chapter for a kind of smart glossary.
Another nice new feature is something that Amazon refers to as ‘Immersion Reading’. This involves the ability to read an ebook and have the audiobook running at the same time. According to Amazon, this method of consuming a book should improve retention and understanding of the content.
If you are planning to share your Kindle Fire with the younger members of the family, Amazon has introduced the ability to limit how long you can spend accessing certain content. If you want the little ones to only play games for 30 minutes, you can simply set this up and when the time is up, the screen is blue indicating that playtime is over.
Amazon is introducing a slicker email service which promises faster access to email, improved syncing for contacts and calendars and support for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. A new custom Facebook application is also on the way with Skype integration supported by a front-facing camera.
On the audio front, Amazon has decided to follow Samsung’s latest tablet offerings by offering dual speakers with an exclusive audio engine courtesy of Dolby Digital Plus which has been made exclusively for the Kindle HD devices and should deliver crystal clear audio and dynamic sound.
UK price and release date
While the Kindle Paperwhite has not been confirmed for the UK, we will be able to get our hands on the Kindle Fire HD with the 7-inch costing £129 and the 8.9-inch priced in at £159. Both will be available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk and will ship on October 25th.
Here’s some more articles you might like:
- Amazon Kindle Fire HD Early Hands-on Expert Review
- Amazon’s Kindle Fire Comes to the UK – Here’s What You Need to Know
- Kindle Fire 2, Nexus 7, iPad Mini… battle of the low-cost tablets
- Apple’s New iPad 3 – the Definitive Video Review
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet Expert Review