Today Amazon popped its yearly Kindle Fire update unannounced, showing off no less than four new models of its customized Android tablet family. The Kindle Fire HD Kids is being covered in this post, but the main event is the refreshed versions of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Fire HD7, and the "all-new" Fire HD 6. These will make up Amazon's new line, scheduled to go on sale in October.
Along with a handful of new tablets, Amazon has officially announced Fire OS 4 (codenamed Sangria), which it says adds hundreds of new features to the "content-forward" operating system.
First and foremost, Amazon says the user interface in Fire OS has gotten a facelift. Amazon hasn't gone into detail in describing its UI changes, but visual tweaks are certainly welcome to an interface that can at times seem scattered.
Besides that, Amazon is touting new features like ASAP, Smart Suspend, and the addition of individual user profiles to make for easier sharing among families.
Amazon announced a handful of new Fire tablets tonight, one of which is designed specifically for kids. The company looks to be going after Fuhu's nabi and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 Kids with the Fire HD Kids Edition, and it's going straight for the jugular.
First off, the Fire HD Kids Edition (FHDKE?) has an unheard of two year, no questions asked guarantee. If the tablet gets broken any time within the first two years – regardless of how it happens – Amazon will replace it at no charge.
Google hyped up Android One, its initiative to get Android-powered phones into the hands of more people in the developing world, back at Google I/O. They made good on their promises today in India, launching new phones in partnership with local hardware vendors Spice, Micromax, and Karbonn. The first three Android One phones are available today starting at Rs. 6299 ($103 USD at current currency rates) without a contract at major online Indian retailers.
The dawn of Google's Android One program is fast approaching, with an official announcement for the Indian market expected tomorrow. We've already seen the Android One phone from manufacturer Spice make a brief appearance, and the Twitter account for Amazon.in (the retailer's Indian branch) has teased an upcoming Micromax model. You can see the tweet below:
Log on to Amazon.in at 3:30 pm on the 15th. Spread the word. pic.twitter.com/7BvjM8XLgy
— Amazon.in (@amazonIN) September 14, 2014
Presumably the 3:30 PM timeframe refers to India Standard Time, which would be 6 AM Eastern in the United States.
Lenovo's initial Yoga tablets were novel thanks to their curved chassis with plus-sized batteries and integrated kickstands, but the lackluster specs (headlined by MediaTek processors) turned a lot of hardware fans off. The refreshed version of the 10-inch Yoga fixed that with a slightly better Snapdragon 400, 2GB of RAM, and a 1920x1200 screen. You can pick up a Yoga 10 Tablet HD+ for $100 off from Amazon, bringing the price down to a more reasonable $249.99.
External battery packs are pretty simple. Unless you're specifically looking for something small or stylish, you generally want the biggest capacity for the cheapest price. One Amazon listing is delivering just that today: a 10,400mAh battery for $19.99. This Lumsing model should charge most Android smartphones at least three times over, more if you've got a smaller or older device. It doesn't look half bad, either - the description says it's designed to look like a harmonica, but I wouldn't recommend blowing into the holes.
Gadget lovers tend to accrue all kinds of electronic detritus on their desks, night tables, coffee tables, and any other flat surface where you can put down a tablet. And for keeping that detritus charged, there's nothing more convenient than a USB outlet adapter... except an adaptor with more than one USB port. If you find yourself short of places to plug in, Amazon is offering a Volmate 5-port charger for just $12.49 after a coupon.
Amazon has finally (finally!) brought its Prime Instant Video service to Android devices with an Instant Video app available through its own app store.
The news comes as part of an update to version 5.0 of Amazon's own app in the Play Store, which sees a broader content shift - the new Amazon app allows users to access Amazon's entire digital catalog, meaning that - besides instant video content - users can shop for (and install) apps from Amazon's app store.
The Fire Phone is a tough sell when there are so many great Android devices available with Google services, and it looks like AT&T agrees. After just a few months of (reportedly) poor sales, the Fire Phone has dropped to just $0.99 with a new 2-year contract. I'm seeing shades of the HTC First here.