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.
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.
Amazon's FireTV has been available since early April here in the US, and since then has become the best selling set-top box on Amazon (naturally). It's a fantastic little unit for the dedicated Amazon customer, especially those who subscribe to Prime. As of today, Amazon is broadening its horizons and making FireTV available in both the UK and Germany.
For those who may not be familiar, FireTV is packing some pretty decent hardware under its hood, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 running the show.
It's easy to scoff at Amazon Coins, but with offers of free ones popping up every now and then, it's just as easy to take that virtual money laughing as you walk away with awesome apps and games. Doing what it does rather well, Amazon is now expanding its reach to additional countries. The company's coins are now available in Australia and Japan.
As was the case when Amazon Coins first launched in the US in 2013, Kindle Fire owners in Japan and Australia will find that the company has already deposited 500 Yen or $5 AUD worth of coins into their accounts.
Amazon's first smartphone isn't that great, but the company is already moving to improve the experience with the device's first OTA update. This bumps the FireOS version up to 3.5.1, and includes a slew of new features and improvements:
Amazon's flaming media streaming and gaming box is currently marked down to $84. This is a savings of $15 on the original price. The difference here isn't enough to get Fire TV detractors to change their tune, but if you were considering picking up Amazon's little black box, this might just help with the decision.
We've put the Fire TV through its paces in a lengthy review, and to sum things up shortly - it's not a bad box.
Gaming is one of the things Amazon touted quite a bit for Fire TV, and the company released an exclusive title called Sev Zero to show off everything its set-top box can do. The game is a mixture of tower defense and action shooter, which offers a unique blend of gameplay.
The company also released a companion app for the Kindle Fire HDX, which allows a two player co-op experience where the second player offers air support for player one.
Amazon is currently offering the Wi-Fi version of its 32GB Kindle Fire 8.9 for $299.99, a discount of $130. For an extra 15 bucks, you can get the variant without ads (excuse me, special offers) instead. The discount applies to both, and it's valid for only today.
Other variations of the tablet are also going at discounted rates, though they don't compare to the $130 savings we see on the aforementioned model.