Amazon has revealed a new lineup of Fire tablets that will be available later this month. The new devices include Amazon's latest version of the Fire OS, Fire OS 5 "Bellini," which Amazon said includes hundreds of improvements and additional features over the previous version.
Amazon said Fire OS has been built with Android Lollipop as a base. The company then customized it to be deeply integrated into Amazon's network of content and cloud services. Amazon said the new version will run any Android app with very little work needed from the developer.
Fire OS 5 introduces a brand new user interface designed to improve the entertainment experience. There are separate pages dedicated for all of Amazon's content media -- Books, Games, Movies, TV, Music, etc. -- which should present as if they are from magazines. The company said that the OS will integrate services such as Prim, Kindle Unlimited and Audible to make it easy to discover content from the subscription services, at no additional cost.
Fire OS will receive some interesting updates in the coming months. On Deck is a service for Prime subscribers who own Fire tablets that automatically downloads popular TV shows and movies, making them available to you offline in the event you find yourself without an Internet connection. Amazon said this feature uses the available space on the device, but it keeps it in a special shadow mode that will automatically delete content to make room for things the user initiates, such as app installations or selected content.
Fire Tablets also have access to Amazon Underground. The app store is unique in that all content hosted on it is completely free. Amazon said there is over $10,000 worth of games and apps, as well as in-app upgrades, that are completely free for Fire tablet owners to use.
Fire OS 5 "Bellini" will also introduce a new speed reading feature called Word Runner. This tool is supposed to help improve your reading speed by bringing one word at a time to the center of the screen. Amazon said that doing this brings the words where your brain is already focusing. The company said that Word Runner features Dynamic Pacing that will gradually learn your pace of reading, and will automatically slow down for complex words.
|Tablet||Fire||Fire Kids||Fire HD8||Fire HD10|
|Resolution||1024 x 600||1024 x 600||1280 x 800||1280 x 800|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.3 GHz||Quad-core 1.3 GHz||Quad-core up to 1.5 GHz||Quad-core up to 1.5 GHz|
|Internal Storage||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB or 16 GB||16 GB of 32 GB|
|Expandable Storage||SD - Up to 128 GB||SD - Up to 128 GB||SD - Up to 128 GB||SD - Up to 128 GB|
|Cameras||VGA Front-facing, 2MP Rear-facing - records 720p video||VGA Front-facing, 2MP Rear-facing - records 720p video||720p HD Front-facing, 5MP Rear-facing - records 1080p video||720p HD Front-facing, 5MP Rear-facing - records 1080p video|
|Audio||Mono Speaker, Built in Mic||Mono Speaker, Built in Mic||Dolby Audio Mono Speaker, Built-in Mic||Dolby Audio Mono Speaker, Built-in Mic|
|Available Colors||Black||Black - Blue or Pink case||Black, Blue, Magenta, Tangerine||Black, White|
As mentioned, the new version of Fire OS will come pre-installed on Amazon's latest tablets. There are options for a number of price ranges, but there should be a tablet to fit anyone's budget. The most affordable option is the Fire Tablet, a 7-inch device with an IPS display and a quad-core processor. The entry level tablet will be available for just $49.99, and all of the aforementioned Fire OS 5 features are supported.
Amazon also introduced a new version of the Fire Kids Edition. Introduced last year, Fire Kids has been a popular choice to give children, as it is fully backed by a no-questions-asked 2-year warranty guaranteeing that if your kids break it, Amazon will replace it. The new version follows up on that success by offering a protective case and the same warranty, but the price has been reduced from $149.99 to $99.99, and the new version is simply the $49.99 Fire Tablet with a special kid-proof case. These are available in blue and pink. The tablet itself is only available in black.
In addition to the Fire and Fire Kids tablets, Amazon has launched new versions of Fire HD tablet. Available in both 8-inch and 10-inch displays, these devices share much of the features available in the base tablet, with improvements to every specification.
The Fire HD tablets are both equipped with 1280 x 800 display resolutions and share the same HD front-facing camera and 5MP rear camera. They also both feature Dolby Audio certified audio systems, and share the same quad-core processor that operates at up to 1.5 GHz.
The Fire HD8 is available with 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, and the Fire HD10 comes in 16 GB and 32 GB varieties. Prices for the Fire HD tablets start at $149.99 for the HD8, and the HD10 starts at $229.99. A single Fire tablet will cost $49.99, but Amazon is also offering a six pack for $249.99.
Amazon is taking pre-orders for all four devices now, and the products will ship on September 30.