It's been just about a years since Amazon refreshed the Kindle Fire line, and like clockwork, here are some new tablets from everyone's favorite megalithic online retailer. The updated 7" and 8.9" versions are named Kindle Fire HDX, and surprisingly, they feature some of the best hardware available for Android tablets. In addition to new high-resolution displays (1920x1200 for the 7" and an eye-popping 2560x1600" for the 8.9") they've both got 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processors and 2GB of RAM.
The Kindle Fire isn't the type of Android tablet that sends enthusiasts running to the store in droves, but that shouldn't diminish all that the tablet gets right. It remains one of the best-selling Android tablets out there, and if you aren't turned off by ads - excuse me, special offers - it's one of the best new tablets you can find at such a low price. Amazon will offer a refreshed version of their popular tablet anytime now, but new leaked photos may just spoil the surprise of what the company's upcoming tablet will look like.
If you're looking for a good throw-in-your-bag tablet with an excellent form factor and beautiful display, it's hard to beat Amazon's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire. Sure, it doesn't have the Play Store, and belongs in a completely different playing field than something like the Nexus 7, but for a consumption tablet, it can deliver the goods with the best of 'em thanks to Amazon's massive collection of Kindle books and quick access to Instant Video for Prime members.
The shiny new Nexus 7 may be the current king of the 7-inch jungle, but that doesn't mean you should pass up a good deal. The Kindle Fire HD - that's the upgraded 720p tablet, not the newer non-HD Fire - is $40 off for all models at the moment. The Amazon storefront shows "For a Limited Time," so we have no idea how long this price will last.
The price drop applies to all the variations of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon tends to be a bit focused on the United States because, well, it's a US company. But they're expanding the reach of both the Amazon Appstore (which now works in almost 200 countries) and the Kindle itself. A press release this morning announced that the Kindle Fire HD is now available for pre-order in more than 170 countries, in both the standard 7" model and the premium 8.9". Hardware will begin shipping out to customers on Thursday, June 13th.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it was preparing a proprietary virtual currency specifically for its Appstore. Then the incorrigible Eric Ravenscraft spent a few thousand words explaining exactly why Amazon Coins, and any system that substitutes real money for meaningless points, is just a pretense for sucking money out of people's wallets. If you can't wait to pay Amazon's tax on those without common sense, you can now hand over your real dollars for fake ones to spend on apps and in-app purchases.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is working on making not one, but two smartphones. And one of them will have some kind of awesome quasi-holographic glasses-free 3D display. That sounds like the kind of 3D people might actually want! The other one is... a phone of some kind. That's literally all the detail that was provided.
The one you're actually interested in, though, did come with a few extra tidbits about this glasses-free holographic voodoo magic.
Amazon's Kindle app has just received a significant update, bringing the reader up to version 4 and introducing a refreshed UI, among other things.
Just when I'd decided to try switching to Play Books (despite giving up things like quick two-finger brightness adjustment), Amazon has introduced a redesigned library that's much more lively than a simple grid of book covers. The new library interface has your books plus a nice "carousel" up top for recent items.
At the moment, the Amazon Appstore is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan. But that's hardly enough for Amazon's global ambitions. In a press release, the company announced plans to widen the Appstore to "nearly 200 countries" across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. A specific timeframe was also absent, but prospective developers can manage their international distribution on the Mobile App Distribution Portal.
The Kindle Fire HD is, at the moment, the best Android tablet that's not really an Android tablet but is still kind of an Android tablet. The LTE model, while pricier than the others, is handy for those that still need to download on the go. Now, AT&T is going to start selling the connected model for $399.
As a temporary introductory offer, AT&T has a "deal" that allows customers to sign a 2-year contract in exchange for $150 off.