Early (early) Wednesday morning Amazon slammed our inbox with a number of announcements revealing the new Kindle Fire HDX tablets and the company's Fire OS 3.0. Amazon also introduced a pretty new pricetag for a revamped 7 inch Kindle Fire HD tablet, Enterprise features now offered in both HD and HDX tablet groups, and an innovative tech support feature. Sorry, no set-top box, game console or Kindle Fire phone in this batch.
So where do we start? As with the previous generation, Amazon is serving up two base models of the Kindle Fire HDX: 7 inches and 8.9 inches, both of which will sport storage capacities of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. There will be Wi-Fi only models, and 4G LTE models supporting AT&T and Verizon Wireless Networks. Pricing for the 7 inch Kindle Fire HDX starts at $229 USD, and pricing for the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 starts at $379 USD.
According to Amazon, the 7 inch tablet will feature a 1920 x 1200 resolution (323 ppi) and a front-facing HD camera whereas the 8.9 inch model will have a heftier 2560 x 1600 resolution (339 ppi), an HD camera on the front and an 8MP camera on the back. This camera will include an LED flash, Electronic Image Stabilization, and a wide-aperture 5P f2.2 lens.
Amazon reports that both Kindle Fire HDX models will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip clocked at 2.2 GHz, Adreno 330 graphics, 2 GB of RAM, and a battery promising up to 11 hours of mixed use and up to 17 hours of reading. The larger 8.9 inch tablet will weigh only 13.2 ounces, 34 percent lighter than the previous generation.
The company also introduced Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito", Amazon's forked build of Android. The big surprise here is the platform's support for HTML5 apps, allowing developers to create their web apps without the need for third-party software. Other platform features include carousel and grid home screen views, streamlined cloud collections, 1-tap archiving, Kindle Free Time parental control, deep social integration for Twitter and Facebook, and loads more.
The new HDX tablets now offer what Amazon calls the "Mayday" button, a free service provided by the company that's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This "button" resides in the Quick Settings menu, and aims to respond to requests in 15 seconds or less. Kindle Fire HDX owners can even see the tech advisor they're calling, but the tech agent (supposedly) can't see the caller.
"With the Mayday button, our goal is to revolutionize tech support," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "With a single tap, an Amazon expert will appear on your Fire HDX and can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best."
Amazon said it has also revamped the current 7 inch Kindle Fire HD tablet with a slimmer, lighter design matching the HDX models, the new Fire OS 3.0 platform, dual speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio, and a slightly faster dual core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz (1.2 GHz on the older model). Like the Kindle Fire HDX tablets, this revised model will have exclusive new features such as X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads, Second Screen, expanded X-Ray for Movies and TV, and more. The pricetag for this model will be a mere $139 USD.
Finally, Amazon introduced new origami-style cover designs that will attach to the tablets magnetically. These covers will provide a simple stand for both portrait and landscape positions, but the 8.9 inch model will also include a custom slide feature to expose the camera sensor on the back.
The 7 inch Kindle Fire HDX can be pre-purchased now by heading here, but the Wi-Fi version doesn't ship until… wait for it… October 18 – the 4G LTE models ship on November 14. As for the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 tablet, customers can pre-purchase the device here. The Wi-Fi only models ship November 7 and the 4G LTE models ship on December 10.