Amazon discontinued its one-year-old Fire Phone earlier this month, but today drove the point home by announcing a refresh of its Fire Tablet line – with a phone nowhere to be seen.
The biggest news is the cheapest model: a $49.99 Fire Tablet. Of course, it’s not the most impressive piece of hardware, but not out of step with similarly-priced Android tablets. The 7-inch screen has a resolution of 1024 x 600, or 171 pixels per inch. Under the hood there’s a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 8GB internal storage, plus a microSD slot for adding up to 128GB more. The 2-megapixel rear camera and VGA front camera are obviously very entry-level.
Stepping up to the latest Fire HD 8 costs three times as much, $149.99, but it’s hard to imagine three times the performance. There’s a slightly larger screen, 8 inches, with slightly better resolution, 1280 x 800 at 189 pixels per inch. The quad-core processor runs at “up to 1.5GHz,” but two of those cores top out at 1.2GHz. Storage is the same, with an upgrade to 16GB costing another $20. The cameras, speakers, and WiFi are a bit better as well.
Finally, the Fire HD 10 comes in at $229.99 for a 16GB tablet with 10.1-inch screen. Doubling the storage to 32GB costs $30 more. Other than that, the internals are basically identical to the Fire HD 8: same processor, same cameras, same WiFi, even the same display resolution, which on the larger screen translates to a lower 149 pixels per inch.
All models include 1GB RAM, the Android-derived Fire OS 5, and the company’s new Amazon Underground service. Underground, which is also available for most other Android devices, makes a curated selection of paid apps and games, plus in-app purchases, free to use. The three tablets are also “almost 2x more durable than iPad Air 2” in “tumble tests,” which probably means they got dropped a lot.
Amazon also updated its Fire TV line, giving the Fire TV Stick a voice remote and beefing up the Fire TV box with more processing power to support 4K video.
Sandwiched between the Apple event last week and expected Google announcements later this month, how do you think the Amazon Fire reveal stacks up?
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