Well, well. With little fanfare, Amazon announced three new tablets and two new e-readers Wednesday.
The new hardware includes two devices under $100, two high-end offerings, and a tablet for kids with a two-year replacement guarantee.
Though it’s far from the most powerful tablet available, the Fire HD 6 tablet is newsworthy for its price point: $99. It can be so cheap because it includes only 8GB storage and low-quality front and rear cameras. It also shows sponsored screensavers on its lock screen. Doubling the storage adds $20 and removing the promos adds $15.
In addition, its small 6-inch screen doesn’t compete with Apple’s Retina displays – its resolution is a modest 1280x800. Nevertheless, it does pack a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and five color choices. The slightly larger Fire HD 7 is $40 more.
The Fire HD Kids Edition is pretty similar, though exact tech specs aren’t disclosed. The included “Kid-Proof” case helps protect against the way children treat all toys (roughly). The two-year “worry-free guarantee” promises replacement in case of accidental breakage as well as electrical and mechanical breakdowns.
It also comes with a year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited, granting access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. Individual profiles for different children give parents granular control over kids’ screen time and age-appropriate content. It comes in three colors and two screen sizes: 6 inches for $149 and 7 inches for $189.
The flagship Fire HDX 8.9 tablet starts at $379 for 16GB storage with special offers. Its quad-core processor hits 2.5GHz, and graphics performance is improved over previous versions with 2GB RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU. The display packs in the pixels at 2560x1600, and both front and rear cameras suport HD video.
Unlike the cheaper models, the Fire HDX 8.9 includes Amazon’s Mayday support and Firefly shopping features. None of them have the Dynamic Perspective introduced on the Fire Phone.
The newest baseline Kindle now has a 6-inch touchscreen and integration with Goodreads for tracking and sharing books read. It’s $79 with special offers or $99 without.
The Kindle Voyage improves on the Kindle Paperwhite’s 6-inch display with an adaptive front light and more pixels per inch. It starts at $199 with special offers.
Amazon’s new Kindles and Fires ship in October, among a busy fall for mobile devices. Apple is expected to show off new iPads early in October; Google typically drops new Nexus phone & tablet hardware near the end of the month; and new phones were announced earlier in September by Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia. Stay tuned for the latest info!
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