Amazon has taken the lid off three new Kindle Fire tablets, shipping on 18 October — the first that will be available to Australians at the same time as the US.
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will be available for pre-order on 2 October, and the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX will be available for pre-order on 18 October, Amazon has announced.
The lower-end Kindle Fire HD has upped the entry-model ante, with the same processing power and display resolution as last year's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. With its dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1280x800p (216ppi) screen and 10 hours of battery life, it's an affordable, yet decent-sounding, device.
It's with the HDX version that things start to incline. Both have a beefy quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU, boosted battery life — 11 and 12 hours of mixed use, respectively — optional 4G, front-facing HD camera and up to 64GB of on-board storage. The 7-inch HDX has a screen resolution of 1920x1200p (323ppi), while the HDX 8.9 boasts 2560x1600p (339ppi), as well as an additional 8MP rear-facing camera.
All three tablets are packing Amazon's latest Kindle Fire OS 3.0, aka, "Mojito". This claims "hundreds of new features and updates", including a feature that Amazon is calling "Mayday". This is particularly interesting. It will allow users with the tap of an icon to contact on-device tech support to walk them through any troubleshooting issues, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Other features of the new OS include better gesture-based controls, different content navigation options, printer support and something called "X-Ray" that allows you to view song lyrics line by line as music plays or trivia during movies.
In November, the OS will add second screen support; Goodreads integration; printing support for photos, PDFs, emails and more; Cloud Collections, so you can organise your content in the cloud for synchronisation across all Kindle devices and apps; and complete enterprise support.
And, for the HDX 8.9, users can now get a fancy cover with a built-in origami-style stand.
The Kindle HD starts at US$154 for the 8GB model, the HDX at US$244 for the 16GB model and the HDX 8.9 at US$394 for the 16GB model. CNET Australia has contacted Amazon to see whether the 4G long-term evolution (LTE) models will be available outside the US, and we will update when we have more information.