Amazon announced three new Kindle Fire tablets today as it prepares to push it device line towards the holiday shopping season. Kindle announced two brand new tablets—the Kindle Fire HDX in 7-inch and 8.9-inch varieties—along with an updated version of last year’s Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon also announced the third generation of its Fire OS (the forked version of Android that runs the Fire tablets), dubbed “Mojito.”
Amazon made the announcement with little fanfare. The company did not have a fancy launch event where CEO Jeff Bezos or any of his top lieutenants stood on stage to pose for cameras with the device. Amazon just quietly sent a press release overnight packed with information about the new Fire tablets.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is likely the flagship of the series. Amazon has given both sizes of the HDX tablets a significant bump in hardware specifications. Both HDX tablets will runs a Snapdragon quad-core 2.2 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM and twice the memory of last year’s Kindle Fire HD tablets. Amazon has packed a Adreno 330 graphics processor into the HDX tablets for better image rendering that will help the tablets running higher powered games.
The screens on the 7-inch and 8.9-inch Fire HDX tablets also got a spec upgrade. The 7-inch version ships with 1920x1200 pixel dimensions, good for 323 pixels per square inch (ppi). The 8.9-inch Fire HDX runs a screen at 2560x1600 (339 ppi).
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch will also come with an 8-megapixel rear facing camera.
Amazon also has several new software and content features for the Kindle Fire HDX tablets. Foremost among them is the ability to download Amazon Prime Instant Video movies and television straight to the tablets for offline viewing. Previously, Prime Instant Video was only available for streaming through Kindle Fire tablets.
Amazon also released what it calls a “Mayday Button” for users that need instant tech support for their Fire tablets. The Amazon Kindle Fire expert will appear on your tablet within 15 seconds of pushing the Mayday Button to guide you through whatever tech problems you may be having with you device.
The new Fire HDX tablets also have a new feature Amazon calls “Second Screen” which has the ability to stream content from your Kindle Fire to a television set. Second Screen will work with the PlayStation 3 and Samsung Smart TVs or any Miracast-enabled accessories.
Amazon has also improved its “X-Ray” features that allow users to look up aspects of their content from within books, video and now music.
Amazon has also updated the enterprise-grade features on its Fire HDX tablets with new support for device encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure Wi-Fi connections and VPN integration
All three of the new Kindle Fire tablets are available for preorder today and will ship on October 18th. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch will sell for $229 (with a 4G LTE version for $329). The 8.9-inch Fire HDX will sell for $379 ($479 with 4G LTE).
The updated Kindle Fire HD might be the best bargain of the bunch, now selling at $139.
In lieu of a major announcement, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos describes everything you need to know about the new Fire HDX tablets in a statement from the press release:
“It’s been just two years since we introduced the first Kindle Fire, and the team is innovating at an unbelievable speed,” said Bezos. “2.2 GHz processor, 339 ppi display, new 34% lighter design, Fire OS 3.0, and new exclusive features like the Mayday button, X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, and Prime Instant Video downloads. We’ve worked hard to pack this much hardware, innovation, and customer obsession into these prices.”