Everything we know about the Kindle Fire HDX [Updated]

amazon appstore christmas offers kindle fire hdx

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.

Kindle Fire HDX Rumors: Which were true and which were false?

Below are all the rumors we reported in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the debut of the Kindle Fire HDX on Sept. 25, 2013.

Three models expected (FALSE)

Two models were announced. The Kindle Fire HD was reduced in price to $140.

Amazon’s current Kindle line-up consists of three devices, the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. According to a report from BGR, this will continue with the 2013 models, and while the screen sizes will likely remain the same, the internal specs will receive a considerable overhaul.

A report on Taiwan’s UDN.com also states we’re to expect three new Kindle Fire tablets, and that all could have metal casings and will be built by Taiwanese manufacturer Compal Electronics. Compal apparently started receiving orders for a 7-inch Amazon tablet back in March, and at the time it was estimated the firm would start shipping them between July and September this year.

New ‘chiseled’ design (TRUE)

kindle-fire-hd-2-bgr-leaked-shotThe anonymous sources speaking to BGR say the new Kindle Fire HD models will take on a more angular and, “Chiseled” look than the current, rounded designs. Sony relaunched its tablet range with the Xperia Tablet Z recently, and its sharp, monolithic style really makes it standout, so we’re excited for Amazon’s new models, which may look something like this. BGR has also published a full gallery of pictures showing what appears to be the new 7-inch Fire HD. 

What could be a new Kindle Fire has also shown up in a press-style glamor shot via the @evleaks Twitter account. Said to be, “Another upcoming Kindle,” it shows the tablet is still running Amazon’s version of the Android OS, plus it has the usual (massive) bezel around what we presume to be a 7-inch display, but there is no front facing camera lens visible. 

Amazon Kindle Leaked Press Image

Is this just an oversight in the image, or are we looking at another, cheaper Kindle Fire? There has been plenty of buzz about a $100 Kindle Fire in the past, and although it was brushed off as impossible back then, times may have changed enough to make it possible now. In the UK, Amazon has just dropped the price of the basic 7-inch, 1024 x 600 Kindle Fire to £100 from £130, indicating it’s coming to the end of its life, while the model has disappeared from Amazon.com’s website already.

Kindle Fire 7-inch rumors (FALSE)

Kindle FireThe new basic Kindle Fire model is rumored to retain its 7-inch screen size, but increase the resolution to 1280 x 800 pixels, bringing it up to the outgoing Nexus 7 (2012) and this year’s Kindle Fire HD. Inside will be another Texas Instruments OMAP processor, despite TI’s decision to no longer manufacture mobile chips, and if the reports are correct it’ll be the 1.5GHz, dual-core OMAP4 4470. This is the same model used in the Fire HD 8.9, and a big jump from the 1.2GHz OMAP4 4430 used in the existing Fire.

We can expect the RAM to be doubled to 2GB, and for Android 4.2.2 to be installed; not that you’ll recognize it. Amazon is sure to cover Google’s OS up with its own user interface. According to BGR.com, the 8GB Fire will keep its competitive $160 price tag, but will also be joined by a 16GB and 32GB version.

Kindle Fire HDX Rumors (TRUE)

Kindle Fire HDThe Fire HD is the first of Amazon’s upper-range tablets and, like it’s cheaper sister model, it has a 7-inch screen which isn’t expected to change for the second-gen machine. The resolution may be upped to 1920 x 1200 pixels though, which will again see it compete with the new Nexus 7.

Like Google, Amazon is likely to change its processor supplier, ditching Texas Instruments for Qualcomm and its Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip. That’s right, the Kindle Fire HD may be powered by the same chip as the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Google’s latest Nexus 7 uses the still excellent Snapdragon S4 Pro, running at 1.5GHz.

Again, 2GB of RAM is probably going to accompany the Snapdragon 800, plus a front facing camera, Wi-Fi, cellular LTE connectivity, and Android 4.2.2 are also expected to feature.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 coming (TRUE)

Kindle Fire HD 8.9As the new Kindle Fire HD may take on the 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution which headlines the current Fire HD 8.9’s spec sheet, there’s a chance Amazon may boost the larger screen’s resolution to 2560 x 1600. This pixel count is the same as the Samsung-produced Nexus 10.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor should be used to power the largest Kindle Fire tablet too, along with the same 2GB of RAM and various connectivity options.

2014 Kindle Fire Processor Swap (FALSE)

(Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors are in the new 2013 models.)

According to a report by DigiTimes, processor manufacturer MediaTek has won the contract to supply Amazon with quad-core processors for its 2014 Kindle Fire tablet. As noted above, Texas Instruments has moved on from mobile chips, forcing Amazon to make a change. While Qualcomm is an excellent choice for the more expensive models, MediaTek’s competitive pricing should see the Fire maintain its bargain status, should the report turn out to be accurate.

Debuting in September (TRUE)

Amazon announced the Kindle Fire HD and Fire HD 8.9 at an event on September 6 last year. Taiwan’s UDN.com says we’ll see the launch sometime in September.

When they do arrive, it’ll be interesting to see if Amazon chooses to stagger the rollout of the new models again. Kindle fans wanting the Fire HD 8.9 in the UK and Europe had to wait several months before the range-topping model was available in their stores, and as Amazon has increased the amount of regions in which the Fire HD is on sale throughout the year, those outside the US may need to have patience before getting their hands on a new model.

As always, it’s worth remembering all the details listed here are unconfirmed rumors and speculation, and the official devices may have completely different spec lists when they’re revealed. We’ll keep you updated in the run up to the launch of this year’s much-anticipated Kindle Fire tablet range.

Updated on 9-11-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Added in some new leaked shots of the new Kindle Fire HD.

Originally published on 8-12-2013 by Andy Boxall.

Editors' Recommendations