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Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablets (pictures)

Amazon has unveiled three new Kindle Fire tablets: a revamped Kindle Fire HD, the Fire HDX 7-inch, and Fire HDX 8.9-inch.

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David Carnoy
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A new family of Kindles

With plenty of time before the 2013 holiday shopping season begins, Amazon introduced two brand-new Kindle Fire tablets, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and HDX 7, and a redesigned Kindle Fire HD with a lower price.

The new tablets feature high-resolution screens, powerful processors, and the latest version of Amazon's Fire operating system.

Read more about the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, HDX 7, and Fire HD.

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Featured-pack tablets

The new Kindle Fire tablets, specifically the HDX models, have enterprise-friendly features, including software encryption and VPN support. The tablets also feature long battery lives, with 11 hours for mixed use and 17 hours for just reading.
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Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch

The Fire HDX 8.9 (its official name) has a 2,560x1,600-pixel-resolution (339ppi) "HDX" display. Amazon says its screen has perfect color accuracy and dynamic image contrast, which it claims "adjusts each pixel depending on the ambient brightness in order to maximize contrast."
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Beveled back

The back of the HDX 8.9 has beveled edges, with a matte soft-touch covering. The top edge, which houses the speakers, is shiny.

Behind that cover, there's a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, with 2GB of RAM. For gaming, there's an Adreno 330 graphics engine. The tablet also comes with 32GB of storage for all of your books, music, and videos.

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Thin and light

Despite its chunky-looking back cover, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has a thin profile. Amazon is also calling the HDX 8.9 the lightest large-screen tablet at 13.2 ounces, thanks to its frame made of a single piece of magnesium.

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Controls

There's a power button and volume rocker on the left and right sides, respectively.
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Camera plus flash

The back of the Fire HDX 8.9-inch has an 8-megapixel camera.

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Price and availability

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX Wi-Fi-only model is available for preorder, and costs $379. The tablet will ship starting on November 7.

You can also buy a 4G version, which comes with LTE service from AT&T and Verizon and costs $479. It will begin shipping on December 10.

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Kindle Fire HDX 7

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 has the same internal specs as the HDX 8.9, including the 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM.
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High-resolution display

The 7-inch Fire HDX has a 1,920x1,200-pixel screen (323ppi) and the same improved color accuracy as the 8.9-inch model.

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Front camera

The HDX 7-inch only comes with a front-facing camera for video messaging.
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Matte back cover

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 has a less-fancy back cover than the 8.9 HDX's, but sports the same soft-touch matte finish. Speakers are located on the lower right and left, instead of the top of the tablet.
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Fits in your hand

Its 7-inch size and thin case make the smaller HDX easy to hold in one hand.
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7-inch price and preorders

The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch is available for preorder for $229. It will start shipping on October 18.

The 4G version, which comes with LTE service from AT&T and Verizon, sells for $329. It won't go out to customers until November 14.

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Updated Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD gets a sleeker design for 2013. Amazon also slashed $60 from the price, bringing the total cost to $139.
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New design

The redesigned Kindle Fire HD's edges are slightly more square.

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Same vibrant screen

The Kindle Fire HD has a bright, high-resolution screen and slimmer screen bezels than the the 2012 version.

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Fire OS 'Mojito'

Launching with the new Kindles is the latest version of Amazon's Android-based Fire operating system. Version 3.0 Mojito, includes several new features, such as the Mayday button, X-Ray for Music, and Second Screen.

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Mayday button

The newly introduced Mayday button gives you live 24-7 support for your Kindle tablet from the settings menu. Amazon set a response time goal of 15 seconds or less.
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Help with Mayday

When you use the Mayday button, the representative on the other end can access the tablet and draw on the screen, coaching you through any feature. It's an awesome-sounding feature for people hoping to give their not-so-tech-savvy loved ones a Kindle Fire, but who don't want to act as tech support for months afterward.

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Origami cover

Amazon built new colorful magnetic covers for each tablet. The front flap can be folded to transform it into a stand with multiple viewing angles.

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Tablet stand

With a few folds, the cover transforms into a portrait-orientation stand.
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HDX 8.9 cover

The cover for the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch has a special slide feature, which will launch the camera when you move the cover away from the lens.

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