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Everything we know about the Kindle Fire HDX [Updated]

Check out our review of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablet.

Tablets are improving almost as fast as smartphones, and that means year-old tech like the Kindle Fire HD is already starting to show signs of age. Amazon has rebooted the tablet line with two new Kindle Fire HDX models, one with a 7-inch display and one with an 8.9-inch display. The specs and design offer significant improvements over the last generation of Amazon tablets, but the real innovation lies in Amazon’s unique Mayday feature. Let’s dig into all the details and see exactly what the new HDX line has to offer.

Updated on 9-26-2013 by Simon Hill and Jeffrey Van Camp: Updated the old rumor roundup to show which rumors were true and which were false. Also added a new page showing the specs, features, and release dates of the new Kindle Fire HDX series.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

kindle fire hdxThe headliner is the larger Kindle Fire HDX which will be competing with the iPad and the Nexus 10.

Hardware Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.31 inches
  • Weight: 374g (13.2 oz)
  • Display: 8.9-inch LCD, 2560×1600 pixels, 339 PPI
  • Processor: 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB
  • Connectivity: LTE, HSDPA, HSPA+, GPRS, EDGE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS
  • Battery: Unspecified, up to 12 hours mixed use
  • Operating system: Fire OS 3.0 Mojito (based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: 720p front-facing camera, 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash

Price and availability

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 starts at $380 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version with ads and goes all the way up to $595 for the 64GB LTE version without ads.

You can pre-order now, but it won’t ship until November 7.

Kindle Fire HDX 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch (alternate)Amazon will also look to beat the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini with the 7-inch Fire HDX.

Hardware Specifications

  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 0.35 inches
  • Weight: 303g (10.7 oz)
  • Display: 7-inch LCD, 1920×1200 pixels, 323 PPI
  • Processor: 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB
  • Connectivity: LTE, HSDPA, HSPA+, GPRS, EDGE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS
  • Battery: Unspecified, up to 11 hours mixed use
  • Operating system: Fire OS 3.0 Mojito (based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: 720p front-facing camera

Price and availability

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 starts at $230 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version with ads and goes all the way up to $425 for the 64GB LTE version without ads.

You can pre-order now, but it won’t ship until October 18.

NOTE: For both models the weights we have provided are for the Wi-Fi versions, the LTE versions are slightly heavier.

Common features

There are a few specific features that you’ll find on both HDX tablets. Amazon is hoping that these will help differentiate its offerings from the competition.

kindle-fire-maydayMayday: The addition of 24/7, 365 day, on-device tech support is a clever move by Amazon. If you run into any issues at all you can simply tap your Mayday button and a tech advisor will pop-up in the corner of your screen within 15 seconds. The support is completely free, and they’ll be able to remotely tweak your device in order to fix your problem. Amazon already has a good customer support reputation, but this is taking things a step further and it should prove popular with the technologically challenged.

Offline video: If you don’t have a decent Internet connection then streaming video can be a real pain. With Amazon Prime ($79 per year) you can download movies or TV shows to watch later when you’re offline. You get a free month of Prime with a new HDX tablet purchase.

Second screen: Amazon’s forthcoming second screen app allows you to share content on your big screen and use your HDX tablet as a remote control for your main TV (though initially it will only support the PS3, PS4, and Samsung Smart TVs). The X-Ray feature can identify music and auto-scroll lyrics. It’s also capable of identifying actors and linking in to IMDB for a raft of facts and trivia that’s related to what you’re watching.

Enterprise support

Amazon has not forgotten the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend and the HDX tablets could also prove a cost-effective choice for IT buyers. In order to compete for the enterprise it has included data encryption, VPN support, Kerberos authentication, and more.

A tempting proposition?

Amazon is once again committed to delivering low cost devices, and it can afford to do so because they are designed to serve as windows into Amazon’s gigantic content store. The HDX models look like a lot of tablet for your money, and those unique features could just be the clincher that pulls people off the fence and into Amazon’s garden.

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