Amazon unveils new Kindle Fire HDX tablets with 24/7 live video support

amazon appstore christmas offers kindle fire hdx

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

New tablets from Amazon landed late Tuesday – the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Kindle Fire HDX 7, and Kindle Fire HD 7 (2013).

Arriving in time for the holiday season, the new tablets’ boosted specs will leave consumers with an even tougher choice with so many solidly designed and affordable tablets now on the market.

Now with added ‘X’

Amazon has slapped an ‘X’ on the end of the name of its revamped tablets to differentiate them from earlier models; presumably it stands for ‘extra’ as they come with extra processing power, extra RAM, extra memory, extra battery life, and, perhaps not surprisingly, extra cost.

The two HDX offerings, both slimmer and lighter than their predecessors, sport 7- and 8.9-inch screens as before, and certainly pack a punch with a new quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16/32/64GB memory options, and 11 hours of battery life, which extends to 17 hours if you stay off power-hungry videos and games, and read your Amazon-bought digital books instead.

Pixel wars

The pixel density wars show no sign of abating, with the new HDX 8.9’s 2560×1600 display giving it an impressive PPI of 339. The HDX 7’s display is now equal to that of the Nexus 7 at 1920×1200, giving it a PPI of 323.

Both tablets come with a front-facing HD camera, while the 8.9 model comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and LED flash.

Design-wise, Amazon has introduced a more angular rear casing where the power and volume buttons can also now be found.

amazon mayday
The Kindle Fire now has a new ‘Mayday’ feature.

Mayday

An interesting new addition comes in the form of a ‘Mayday’ button accessible via Quick Settings – hit it and you’ll get instant on-device tech support from an Amazon expert 24/7, 365 days a year. This is bound to prove hugely popular with first-time tablet owners unfamiliar with the myriad of functions and features on their new device, with the e-commerce giant aiming to respond to inquiries within 15 seconds.

Another new feature is the ability to download Amazon Prime videos for offline viewing, perfect for when you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. Members of the Prime service, which costs $79 a year, can keep offline copies of a TV show or movie on their tablet for up to 30 days, though once you start watching a download you have to finish within 48 hours.

The operating system has had a makeover, too, with all the new tablets running on Fire 3.0 – otherwise known as Mojito – which Amazon says comes with “hundreds” of new features.

Amazon’s new HDX tablets on first view look very impressive, with the e-commerce giant clearly taking some big steps forward with the latest iteration of its range of tablets as it seeks win over consumers considering rival offerings such as the recently launched Nexus 7, Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3, and Apple’s pricier iPad Mini.

Prices and availability

As for prices, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 starts at $379 for the 16GB ad-supported version and will ship from November 7. The 16GB 4G version costs $479 and starts shipping December 10.

The Kindle Fire HDX 7, which starts at $229 for the 16GB ad-supported model, will begin shipping October 18. The 4G version starts at $329 and ships from November 14.

The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD (2013) gets a faster 1.5GHz processor and new casing design, as well as a price cut, with the 8GB ad-supported model costing just $139. Shipping start October 2.

All of the new slates are available for pre-order from today.

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