Amazon outs high-resolution Kindle Fire HDX models, new Fire OS 3.0

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Online retail giant Amazon quietly unveiled new versions of its Kindle Fire line of devices this week, showing off a tweaked form factor and a novel on-screen helpdesk feature that could differentiate the company's lineup from Android tablets and Apple's iPad.

Kindle Fire HDX


The new Kindle Fire HDX devices come in 7-and 8.9-inch models, both featuring a more angular form factor and much higher display resolutions. The 7-inch model sports a resolution of 1920x1200 with a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch, while the 8.9-inch configuration outputs at 2560x1600. Amazon has also built in dynamic image contrast, allowing the device to alter its contrast to enable better reading even as lighting conditions shift.

Amazon has also worked to make the devices as light as possible, with the 8.9-inch version weighing in at 13.2 ounces, or seven ounces lighter than its predecessor. Inside, both devices will have a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM, which will likely result in much smoother operation for the devices.

In terms of battery life, Amazon is promising 11 hours of standard use, an increase of one hour over the 8.9-inch model from last year. In the special reading mode, the device will reportedly last for 17 hours on a single charge.

Kindle Fire HDX


As with previous Kindle Fire devices, the new models run Amazon's Fire OS. Dubbed "Mojito," Amazon's latest OS is a forked version of Google's Android operating system, as were its predecessors.

Perhaps the most novel addition to the devices is a 24-7-365 online helpdesk with a video component. Amazon has built a "Mayday" button into Fire OS, allowing users to press it whenever they want and to be connected to a tech advisor. The tech advisor appears in an on-screen video chat box, but the advisor cannot see the device user. Once connected, the tech rep can walk a user through the steps of using a device, drawing help steps onto the user's screen.

Amazon has a goal of keeping wait times for this service down to 15 seconds or less. To that end, the company has reportedly brought on thousands of technical reps, and it can supposedly bring on more if necessary.

The retailer also refreshed last year's Kindle Fire HD device and dropped its price. The new Kindle Fire HD packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and the same display as last year's model, but Amazon remade the device's form factor to match this year's high-end models. It also runs Fire OS 3.0 Mojito, but without access to the helpdesk function, which requires a microphone that the older model lacks.

Kindle Fire HDX


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the new devices in a much more reserved fashion than he did with last year's Kindle Fire devices. Instead of renting out an airplane hangar, Bezos showed off the devices to members of the media in an Amazon conference room.

"Today, we're going to show you the third leg of our device business strategy," Bezos said, according to Engadget. Before showing off that third feature ? the new Kindle Fire HDX devices ? he named the first two. "One: premium products at non premium prices. Two: make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices."

The 7-inch and 8.9-inch models of the Kindle Fire HDX are currently available for pre-order starting at $229 and $379 respectively. The new Kindle Fire HD is also available for preorder starting at $139. The HDX models will begin shipping on October 18, while the new Fire HD will begin shipping on October 8.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Amazon has a goal of keeping wait times for this service down to 15 seconds or less. To that end, the company has reportedly brought on thousands of technical reps, and it can supposedly bring on more if necessary. .

    Let's see if we can understand this business model:

    - Sell the hardware at cost.
    - Add tens of millions of dollars in new employees to support the buggy hardware.
    - Sell popular ebooks below cost.

    Not clear how they're going to make money with that.

    Oh, wait. They're not making money. :smokey:
  • Reply 2 of 39
    I think not making money is a great business strategy. No wonder the Analysts all love Amazon.

    You just have to rename losing money a business strategy. And voila!
  • Reply 3 of 39
    The specs are nice, but the interface is still just terrible. I am assuming the low res icons will now look even worse when in the carousel on these HD screens. On the other hand, the "mayday" button, if it works as advertized, seems to be very cool idea. I am guessing that since they cater to a non enthusiast crowd, this will actually save them man hours over having tech support try to explain things over the phone.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Amazon has the price a features right in this one! I make a popular iPad app and Amazon Kindle is the only Android device if recommend. Easy to use and great hardware. Good job Amazon!
  • Reply 5 of 39
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    The analysts covering AMZN were reported to have been extremely excited when Bezos showed them his third leg. Price targets were raised.
  • Reply 6 of 39

    Does anyone care about this Kindle?

  • Reply 7 of 39


    Amazon has built a “ ayday” button into Fire OS, allowing users to press it whenever they want


     

    Ah. ha. ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA HA. Amazon’ll be at the bottom of tablet customer satisfaction charts next quarter.

     

    The tech advisor appears in an on-screen video chat box, but the advisor cannot see the device user. 


     

    Or so they claim.

     

    …drawing help steps onto the user’s screen. 


     

    Screen sharing, however, is the one good takeaway from this system. Not sure how it could be used well on iOS yet, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Reply 8 of 39
    How bad must this thing be to use when built in, 24hr tech support is a marquee feature?
  • Reply 9 of 39

    It looks pretty good, and like that the product is mature enough to not have to bash Apple to make it like Microsoft is doing with the surface.

  • Reply 10 of 39

    I love Amazon. I own all Apple devices except for a 3rd gen Kindle, but Amazon is one of the few competitors that are pushing Apple to add new features to their products to maintain their target audience and we all end up benefitting. I honestly believe iBooks would never have evolved without Amazon, and I fully expect screen sharing tech support to take off and show up in next year's iDevices. No need to reserve store space for training when virtual tech support and training is available wherever a user has internet access. I can see the user base doubling when the curious but non-tech savvy individuals are given this life-jacket to guide them into the age of infinite connectivity.

     

    I am also very curious about this "Bonded glass and nylon" design, and what clarity, weight, and durability it may offer. Amazon is the reason Apple won't even try getting into the bottom budget device market.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,690member
    Amazon will sell "millions*" of these things and Wall Street will go gaga for them.

    *actual numbers not needed.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    Let's see if we can understand this business model:



    - Sell the hardware at cost.

    - Add tens of millions of dollars in new employees to support the buggy hardware.

    - Sell popular ebooks below cost.



    Not clear how they're going to make money with that.



    Oh, wait. They're not making money. image

     

    Well, their business model is based on reducing competition by lowering prices below possible profit levels and providing horrendous working conditions(low cost) for very low paid workers. Perhaps in the long run they will make money - as long as this throughly evil business model is financed. 

  • Reply 13 of 39

    Perfect for when you run out of toilet paper :-Q

  • Reply 14 of 39
    My GF's sister's stupid BF has a whole bookshelf of Kindles. He's a real [email protected]#k!

    He also has the latest and greatest BB, too! :)
  • Reply 15 of 39
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,571member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

     

    Does anyone care about this Kindle?


     

    They have 22% of the tablet market, so I'd say yes (source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/25/4766878/jeff-bezos-interview-amazon-kindle-hdx)

     

    I find the Mayday feature interesting, and something that I thought Apple would have done first, but other than that they don't really interest me. I'm sure millions of people will lap these up, but who am I to judge their decision/needs?

  • Reply 16 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Baka-Dubbs View Post



    The specs are nice, but the interface is still just terrible. I am assuming the low res icons will now look even worse when in the carousel on these HD screens. On the other hand, the "mayday" button, if it works as advertized, seems to be very cool idea. I am guessing that since they cater to a non enthusiast crowd, this will actually save them man hours over having tech support try to explain things over the phone.

     

    Yeah, but the Kindle Fire (and most Kindles in general) are intended for the seniors in your life.  The people that don't understand the difference between an eReader and a tablet and have no clue about technology. Also, Amazon's main customer base are the cheapskates of the world, the people who just want things for free or cheap and don't care about quality.  For those groups of people, the issues you raise are non-existent.  

  • Reply 17 of 39
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cloud30000 View Post

     

    I love Amazon. I own all Apple devices except for a 3rd gen Kindle, but Amazon is one of the few competitors that are pushing Apple to add new features ...


     

    A dreamworld.  You are living in, it is. 

     

  • Reply 18 of 39
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,602member
    paxman wrote: »
    Well, their business model is based on reducing competition by lowering prices below possible profit levels and providing horrendous working conditions(low cost) for very low paid workers.

    Go to GlassDoor and compare salaries at Apple to those at Amazon. The results may not be what you'd expect.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,571member
    sog35 wrote: »
    22% is a total BS number.  Total BS.  Amazon has NEVER disclosed offical sales data and now the CEO says they are at 22%? BS.

    Sheesh, it's just a tablet. Calm down! I swear people here love to get worked up whenever a competitor is mentioned. From the linked article:
    Amazon said last year that it had nabbed an impressive 22 percent of the tablet market, and analysis from Pew Research and others seems to confirm the footprint, a growing footprint.

    So it's not just Bezos rambling off numbers, there's other verification as well.
  • Reply 20 of 39

    Two things:

     

    (1) I have never felt the need for a "mayday" button with my iPad Mini.  It just works and is intuitive so I don't see a need for this feature on an iPad.

     

    (2) Bezos' statement that Amazon will "make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices" is telling.  That seems to be Google's approach to hardware as well, and is likely a big reason that web activity from Android tablets is well below what it should be based upon their market share.

     

    I think most people are like me and do not want to be bombarded with advertisements when using their tablets.  It degrades the experience.  Apple is careful to allow the option to purchase content without pushing it in the customer's face.  Hopefully that does not change.

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