I had a chance to spend some time with Amazon's new Kindle Fires today at the company's event in Los Angeles, so I'm going to share a few thoughts about Amazon's newest Android-based slates. Disclaimer: Yes, I only spent about an hour with this tablet today, but I'm going to give you a sense of where I think the Kindle Fire HD is headed, who it's targeted to, and whether or not you should be interested in buying it.
Just earlier today, we found Sprint documents that confirmed the Galaxy Nexus variant on the Now Network would be receiving Jelly Bean today. Now, a Sprint employee has confirmed on its community message board that the Nexus S rollout will begin today. As with the GNex update, this will be an OTA, so no, refreshing over and over won't get it to you any faster.
Of course, it's still a reminder that CDMA Nexii get the short end of the stick.
It seems like most deadlines in the wide world of apps tend to slip, but this time Glu Mobile was relatively true to its word. When CoD: Black Ops Zombies was released in early August, we were told that the Sony device exclusivity would last 30 days. Well, it's been just barely over that and the game has been opened up to more devices. If you've got zombie killing on the brain, this is for you.
If you're not familiar with Vector Unit, you should be - they're responsible for such Android racing hits as Riptide GP and Shine Runner. Their latest title, Beach Buggy Blitz, has the player racing through a pristine tropical wonderland. You'll see white beaches, verdant forests and adorable local wildlife, all of which will be crushed under the tires of your 4-wheel-drive PETA-punisher of choice. Like Shine Runner, there are no opponents - just get the best time.
It's difficult to put out a $1.5 billion movie and not expect a few major product tie-ins. Marvel, today, "released" (we'll get to that in a bit) a new game for Android called "Avengers Initiative." This $7 app stars the Hulk, as the green loose cannon battles some of his most notorious villains, including Wendigo, the Abomination, and even the infamous Skrulls. The game will only be available for select Android devices to start with.
It's a big day for Netflix: the Android app for both smartphones and tablets has been updated to version 2.0. So with this earth-shattering update to everyone's favorite streaming service, they've added... a WiFi switch. That's it. It makes sure you won't use your mobile data while streaming movies or TV shows. There doesn't seem to be much else to justify a full version bump from 1.8.1.
Alright, to be fair, there are a few user interface tweaks.
Earlier today, Amazon announced a slew of new Kindle products: a refreshed 8GB Fire, brand new 16/32GB Fire HD 7" and 16/32GB Fire HD 8.9", including 32/64GB LTE-enabled variants, and a Kindle Paperwhite which doesn't run Android. The pre-order links weren't working right away, but they've just gone live, and I have them all for you right here.
Kindle Fire (2012 Refresh)
8GB - $159 (September 14th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 7"
16GB - $199 (September 14th release date) - Pre-order link
32GB - $249 (October 25th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
16GB - $299 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
32GB - $369 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G-LTE
32GB - $499 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
64GB - $599 (November 20th release date) - Pre-order link
Repeat after me - "paperwhite." Not "paperweight." Amazon didn't think this one through, did it?
Amazon's new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is impressive enough in its own right, thanks to high-end features and a competitive price of $299. But at the Kindle press event today, CEO Jeff Bezos announced something truly groundbreaking: a Kindle Fire with a 4G LTE connection and an unprecedented data plan. For $499 (the price of the iPad 3, among many others) you get the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, a 4G LTE data connection (almost certainly AT&T) and access to a $49.99-a-year data plan.
As was reported yesterday, it looks like the Sprint Galaxy Nexus will, in fact, be receiving its upgrade to Jelly Bean. Finally. According to documents on Sprint's support page, the JRO03R build starts rolling out today. It looks like it will be an OTA update. If you want to compulsively check for it, though, you can do so in Settings.
We're still waiting to see if the Nexus S 4G will also get the promised Jelly Bean update, as we'd also heard.