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September 25, 2013

Amazon Refreshes Kindle Family

Amazon refreshed its Kindle family of tablets with the new high-end Kindle Fire HDX, a refreshed Kindle Fire HD, and the all-new Kindle Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito" running the two. Despite launching with over the top specifications, the two new tablets are attractively priced.

New Kindle Fire HDX

To begin with, the Kindle Fire HDX is a brand new premium tablet line that comes in two sizes, 7-inch and 8.9-inch. Both feature IPS LCD displays with 16:10 aspect ratios. The 7-incher features 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution, while the 8.9-inch features a class-leading 2560 x 1600 pixels, with which both feature pixel densities of 323 to 339 ppi, the highest for tablets of any kind. Since Kindles are primarily e-book readers, the pixel-density translates to richer classic Serif fonts.

Both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets run Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoCs, with Adreno 330 graphics; and wired to 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Non-expandable storage options include 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. Both variants are available in WiFi-only and WiFi+LTE variants. Amazon didn't detail battery capacities, but promises 11 hours of general use, and up to 17 hours of reading, on a full-charge, on both devices. Both run Amazon's new Kindle Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito."

The 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB variants of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX are priced at $379, $429, and $479, respectively, for the WiFi-only model, add a $100 premium for each of those, for the LTE-enabled equivalents. The 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB variants of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, on the other hand, are priced at $229, $269, and $309, respectively, for their WiFi-only models, with $100 premiums for their LTE-enabled equivalents.

Refreshed Kindle Fire HD

Amazon refreshed its Kindle Fire HD 7-incher. The "all-new" Kindle Fire HD is only an incremental upgrade over its premium, featuring a new body ingot-shaped design that resembles the Kindle Fire HDX, and the new Kindle Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito" out of the box. It still features the same 7-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixels (216 ppi) resolution, the same Snapdragon S4 dual-core chip clocked at 1.50 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, and storage options that include 8 GB and 16 GB. The 8 GB variant is priced at an attractive $139, and the 16 GB variant $169.

Kindle Fire OS 3.0 "Mojito"

Along with the three new tablets, Amazon announced its latest operating system, the Kindle Fire OS 3.0, codenamed "Mojito." A heavily modified Android at the core, Kindle Fire OS 3.0 features a rehashed user interface that takes advantage of the "beyond-HD" displays on the Kindle Fire HDX, with countless little UI enhancements, a quick-settings dropdown, and the likes. The heavily anticipated Google Play access didn't make it. The only place you can get apps and content from, is Amazon. The software should begin rolling out for older compatible Kindle Fire HD tablets as an OTA upgrade some time this November.

Kindle Origami Covers

Lastly, Amazon announced the Origami Covers for the three tablets announced today. True to their names, these colorful covers can be folded in ways that let you make your Kindles stand on desks and tables, in both their landscape and portrait display orientations, apart from their primary task of protecting their screens. Depending on their size, the Origami Covers should be priced between $45 and $60.