What, where, and when are the new features coming with the new Kindle Fire HDX and HD line?
Here again is the simple table comparison of new models here for easy reference, with
Pricing bases plus Amazon links for the new HDX models and the new basic HD 7"
ALL have Dolby Audio Dual Stereo Speakers and Dual band WiFi, while the HDX models have dual antennas also.
Starting prices are with special offers that they say will offer more savings than Lighting deals.
|Kindle Fire HD 7" - $139|
Basic "family" tablet, HD 2nd Gen
8 and 16GB options
Display: 1280 x 800, 216 PPI
No camera or mic (no Skype)
No HDMI-out, No Mayday
Dual-core 1.5 GHz processor
|Kindle Fire HDX 7" - $229 |
'Personal' HDX tablet
16, 32 or 64GB options
Display: 1920 x 1200, 323 PPI
Front-facing, 720p camera
No HDMI-out: Use 'Fling' or Miracast
Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor
| Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - $379 |
'Does it all' HDX tablet
16, 32, or 64GB options
Display: 2560 x 1600, 339 PPI
Adds 8MB rear-facing camera
No HDMI-out: Use 'Fling' or Miracast
Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor
(The 1st generation HD 8.9" remains available, starting at $229) **. See why you might want the Yr 2012 HD 8.9" 1st Gen model instead but you'd be missing many new features you might want (info in original new-HDX's blog article).
(This is a follow up to the main Overview of features for new HDX/HD line that was first posted Sept. 25, 2013, with several information updates after that.)
QUESTIONS in the Kindle forums have generally been about the details of the many new features, which models offer them, and WHEN the features will actually be available, since the tablets to be received in Oct. and early November won't have them all. A mid-November update is expected to bring most of the more-delayed ones.
READY ON THE NEWLY DELIVERED 3RD-GEN KINDLE FIRE HDX/HD's
("[ ALL ]" includes HDX and HD models -- confirmed by Amazon)
. Mayday video-help (Press release and Amazon's detailed Comparison Table say "HDX" only.
. Expanded X-RAY, with Music also, for Movies and TV [ ALL ]
See Song titles as they play in-scene (powered by IMDB)
. Carousel and Grid Views -- From Amazon's Mojito" Press Release: [ ALL ]
"...home screen easily switches between viewing their recent content on the Carousel
or their favorites in Grid view. [ ALL ]
. Quiet Time - mute all incoming notifications and calendar reminders [ ALL ]
. Quick Switch - Go between multiple apps, using a global swipe gesture [ ALL ]
without navigating Home
. Enhanced E-mail - Makes it easier to set up accounts and group conversations
by subject [ ALL ]
. Basic printing support Accessibility Tools [ ALL ]
. Downloading of "Prime Instant Video movies and TV shows -- "now available..." [ ALL ]
The press release for the HDX models had mentioned this is
"exclusively on Kindle Fire HDX," while the press release for
the HD 7" model included it as an "Amazon-exclusive feature."
I received confirmation it's on all 3 new tablets.) But publishers will
probably decide which movies can be downloaded as well as streamed.
. Miracast capability - Display, wirelessly on your HDTV, what is on your tablet. [ ALL ]
This displays, wirelessly on your HDTV, what is on your tablet and
it requires a Miracast-enabled adapter. Amazon Search 1, Search 2.
TV-involved technology is very sophisticated, so I asked for clarification
on whether it was included in the $139 basic Kindle HD 7"tablet.
The response: "Both Second Screen (coming later this month) and Miracast
mirroring are available on all of the new tablets (including the $139 HD)."
COMING MID-NOVEMBER VIA A FREE OVER-THE-AIR UPDATE
. Second Screen and 'Fling' technology, turning your TV into the primary
screen and freeing up your Fire as a 'second' screen to email, browse the web,
play a game, or follow along scene-by-scene with x-ray.
Note that this works with some Samsung TVs and newer Playstations. [ ALL ]
. Goodreads integration - sharing from within a Kindle book [ ALL ]
. Cloud Collections - Organize your apps, books, newspapers, and magazines in
customized collections...Whispersync sunchronizes the collections across
your Kindle devices and reading apps. [ ALL ]
"Organize your content library into Collections like "Favorite Books" and "Sports Apps"
Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices
and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices..."
. The 1-Tap Archive feature - Not enough space remaining?
Frees up space on your Kindle Fire by identifying items not used recently
and provides a 1-tap option to store them in the Cloud for later retrieval. [ ALL ]
. Complete Enterprise Support - "Reliable management of Kindle tablet deployments,
with support for encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure Wi-Fi connections
and VPN integration. Encryption is software-based on the $139 model and
hardware-based on the HDX. [ ALL ]
. Extended Printing Support - Print photos, PDFs, e-mails, contacts, calendar,
and Kindle docs. [ ALL ]
LESS-KNOWN OR DISCUSSED FEATURES - Some are under the hood, but the results were requested.
The Essential and primary Coming features are already described in some detail in the main Kindle Fire HDX article, and I'll add some detail below while listing some of the less-marketed new features and capabilities.
New Graphics Engine "Perfect for Gaming"
Before this new line of tablets, the Google Nexus was superior in this area. But the new Kindle Fire hardware is the fastest available.
"The new Adreno 330 graphics engine on Kindle Fire HDX delivers 4x the graphics performance of the previous generation Kindle Fire HD. This combination of a new graphics engine, HDX display, quad-core processor, and 2x the memory creates a more immersive, high-frame rate HD gaming experience."
The lightest, large-screen tablet , at 13.2 ounces and 34% lighter than before.
"Amazon integrated the capacitive touch layer directly into the glass display on Fire HDX, leaving a lighter single layer instead of the typical 2-layer display stack.
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" frame is a single-piece of machined magnesium with a blend of glass and nylon molded onto the unibody to create openings for the antennas and maximize signal strength without sacrificing sturdiness..."
8MP Rear-Facing Camera for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"
While both HDX tablets have front-facing cameras at 720p for HD video calls with Skype use primarily, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" model "has an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera that allows for high-resolution photos and 1080p HD video, plus an LED flash, Electronic Image Stabilization, and a wide-aperture 5P f2.2 lens that lets in more light, reducing exposure times and producing sharper images. See a [19-second] video: http://amzn.to/fire-camera, which mentions "HDR images, panoramas, and burst photos, even in low light, as well as video in 1080p."
In-camera 'HDR' would normally mean the camera takes at least 3 pictures with different exposures to get the best combination of highly-contrasting light, for a final single picture. There's no explanation what was meant by 'HDR' in the video and no information on how the panoramas are done (wide-sweep like iPhones and Sony RX100's? or more like auto-stitched photos?).
Optimizing Download Manager
Amazon's doing serious work here. They're optimizing parallel content downloads.
' Unlike standard Android, Fire OS adjusts the number of simultaneous downloads per device, so that foreground app performance is not impacted by background download activity.That's pretty impressive.
In addition, the Optimizing Download Manager automatically pauses ongoing content downloads when the customer starts streaming an Amazon Instant Video, to maximize video quality.
Customers can prioritize individual items to download first, and with progressive download they can open videos, Audible audiobooks, or magazines and start enjoying them while the download is still ongoing. '
Graphics Direct Texture - More optimization for speed
This "replaces the standard Android graphics pipeline. The Fire OS graphics system is customized to quickly load large graphical assets like the high-resolution cover art in the Fire OS home screen. It enables the Carousel and the Fire OS media libraries to include large, detailed images and still load quickly and scroll smoothly."
Touch Responsiveness - Very clever what they've done with the Touch processes.
The system dynamically increases the CPU speed after the customer lifts the finger off the screen, to minimize delay in response to touch in games and apps.
When a customer taps an app in the Carousel or Grid views, the system removes unnecessary overhead and drives the app animation direct to the graphics processor, and the app will open immediately.
So, they were listening.
Tablet Reading Mode optimizations for battery life
Now, when you're just reading static pages, which would take less resources in the first place, the system "automatically powers down unnecessary system components, storing the text in a dedicated, low-power memory, and powering down the CPU." A lot of thought was put into the lower-level enhancements.
Origami cases or covers that Amazon highlights
Well, these are fairly expensive -- For the 8.9" HDX, the cost is $65 for the leather one and $55 for the polyurethane, so what are the upsides? I normally buy lighter, less-expensive ones but these are described by Amazon as the 'lightest, thinnest' available for the new Kindles.
The Origami covers have magnetized panels that allow it to stand in either landscape or portrait orientation and should be easier to attach or remove, and they redirect the speaker sound back toward you. An unusual plus for camera users is that if you slide the device up in the case, the camera automatically starts, allowing you to quickly snap a picture
Here's a good video showing how it works for the larger model with the 8-megapixels rear-facing camera..
The other day, I saw the words "Youtube optimized..." and the name of an app on one of the marketing pages. Looking for it today, I no longer see that wording, but it's interesting to see how Amazon has worked on making Youtube, a Google-owned video site, easier to access. What I see today is:
Enjoy your favorite YouTube videos — easily discover, bookmark, and view video content. '
The GooglePlay apps question
This question comes up a lot. I replied yesterday to tech-site articles that said that Amazon users are locked into the Amazon ecosystem. Well, of course that's not true, but it's still a powerful myth among tech writers on the larger sites.
Android system tablets include a Settings box that lets us choose to allow installation of apps from 'unknown sources' and Amazon actually enabled that option box (while B&N did not for its Nook tablets before giving up on their current tablets and their own apps store).
That enabled setting lets us get other appstore shopping apps to download from as we do at Amazon, though Amazon is the best vetted store for Kindle Fire users. 1mobile and m.getjar.com are favorites of many of us, but 1mobile is the easiest and has over 300,000 Google Play apps now. I go there only if an app is not available at the Amazon store for the Kindle Fire. I also wait two or three days before downloading a new version from ANY appstore to make sure it's not giving users unforeseen problems.
So, Kindle Fire users can install non-Apps easily by straight-downloading them to a totally unmodified Kindle Fire. See How to install non-Amazon apps on the Kindle Fire HD to discover how easy it is to install google-play apps (not in Amazon's store) on a Kindle Fire because there are now many good app stores that carry those GooglePlay apps and which do not bar the Kindle Fires from downoading them. No rooting or modifications are needed - just a checking of a Settings box.
With regard to the walled-garden complaint,a summary: The setting to install apps from 'unknown sources' is a normal Android setting. It also means that the Amazon tablets are not walled in or 'locked' into Amazon with no access to the world outside. You can decide to open the door and allow yourself to go outside Amazon to pick up an item you want. Amazon did the right thing there but gets little credit for it from most tech-review sites.
Availability, Shipping Estimates - Pre-Orders for "a place in line" started Sept 25.
Kindle Fire HDX 7": Oct 18, but with 4G: Nov 14.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9": Nov 7, but with 4G Dec 10
Kindle Fire 7" HD 2nd Gen: Oct. 2.
You can do a TRADE-IN on your older Kindles
To learn how to submit a trade-in order for your Kindle, visit this Help page
Also, see the main Overview of features for new HDX/HD line that was first posted Sept. 25, 2013, with several information updates after that.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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