AMAZON ANNOUNCEMENTS - NEW TABLET DEVICES
I'm highlighting the things you should know and I'll follow up later today with updates on the new offerings.
Note that ALL the new 7" 8" and 10" tablets have MicroSD slots that allow you to expand the total storage capacity by 128 GB.
And the TV Fire Stick now comes with a voice remote.
The UK new Kindle info pages are linked to on the Global Listing page.
FIRE tablet - $49.99
"This is a groundbreaking new tablet for under $50. The new Fire tablet includes a quad-core processor, 7" IPS display, front- and rear-facing cameras, up to 128GB of expandable storage, exclusive Amazon features and services, and access to the world's best content ecosystem -- all for just $49.99. Customers can also choose to buy Fire as a six-pack for less than $250. "
The businesswire quotation:
' Introducing Fire -- Setting an Entirely New Standard for a Tablet under $50
The best display on any tablet under $50, almost 2x more durable than the latest generation iPad Air, and 2x more processing power than Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite
Fire OS 5 “Bellini” features an updated user interface, adds hundreds of new features and platform enhancements, and provides instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem of more than 38 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps, and games
Includes Amazon Underground with unlimited access to over $10,000 in paid apps, games, and even in-app purchases that are actually free
Prime members get instant access to a lending library of hundreds of thousands of books, over a million songs, free photo storage in the cloud, and tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes—all at no additional cost. '
I WILL add now that I have been following all the rumors that used actual government approval data sheets, and the speaker in these IS a mono one, and the storage space rumored was 8 GB and that's what it is, with 5 GB used for system files.
With everyone using the Cloud to move things onto and off their devices, these are choices made to lower the cost for those who need to budget.
HOWEVER, even this $50 model has a 128GB MicroSD slot. I bought, during an Amazon sale I blogged a couple of weeks ago, a 64 GB Sandisk Ultra MicroSD card for $19.95.
Amazon's pricing on Sandisk cards (these have been reliable for me) tends to be attractive. Here is a page showing Sandisk MicroSD cards, with ratings shown and reviews accessible. And here's a page with ALL MicroSD cards, sorted by average customer rating.
Note that the Sandisk cards are currently priced $5 to $20 lower than if bought with the tablets.
Display resolution is somewhat less than the current 7" HD model's for Year 2014, but that difference won't be particularly noticeable to most, and this is a no-worry tablet at only $50 when a family has younger folks who want to just read, play games, or watch free streaming videos.
Note the quote above that Amazon's offering a "6-pack" of these $50 tablets for the price of 5, or $250, useful for families or organizations -- and still less than one iPad Pro, it's been noted.
Fire HD 8 - $149.99 and Fire HD 10 - $229.99
"These new tablets are designed from the ground up for entertainment with a stunning 8" or 10.1" widescreen HD display, an incredibly thin and light design, quad-core processor, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, front- and
rear-facing cameras, and microSD card support providing up to 128GB of expandable storage..."
The Businesswire quotation
'Introducing the All-New Fire HD: Powerful Tablets ... stunning HD display with over 1 million pixels, fast quad-core processor, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, front- and rear-facing cameras, expandable memory via microSD, and almost 2x more durable than the latest generation iPad Air—all of this for just $149.99 for 8” and $229.99 for 10.1”The display resolution in both the 8" and 10.1" tablets is not as high as that used in past HD models, with price apparently being a main consideration for families as well as a slimmer, lighter weight tablet.
The best entertainment experience on a tablet with Fire OS 5 “Bellini,” which features an updated user interface, adds hundreds of new features and platform enhancements, and introduces exclusive features like On Deck, Activity Center, Mayday Screen Sharing, and more
First tablets with Amazon Underground built-in, delivering a one-of-a-kind app store experience where over $10,000 in apps, games, and even in-app items are actually free—including extra lives, unlocked levels, unlimited add-on packs, and more '
" Last year, we introduced Fire HD Kids Edition at $149 -- and parents and kids alike loved it. Today, we're making it even more affordable." [$99.99]
' Introducing the All-New Fire Kids Edition -- Built from the Ground Up for Kids, Now Under $100
New Fire Kids Edition comes with an all-new Fire tablet, a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a kid-proof case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee—if anything happens, simply return it and we’ll replace it for free -- no questions asked
Kids now get access to over 20,000 age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos -- all hand-curated by a team of Amazon experts -- kids can dive in to this content immediately with no set up or extra costs
Includes a year of FreeTime Unlimited, with more than 10,000 books, videos, educational apps, and games -- a 2x increase in selection over last year -- that have been curated for age-appropriateness '
New Devices - Comparison Tables
Here's Amazon's Yr 2015 tablet-comparison table
Amazon's Yr 2015 FireTV-comparison table
These can be useful kept in a separate browser window when looking through the various product pages while reading about specific features and wondering if they're in the other models.
Fire TV 2015
INCLUDES Fire TV ($99.99) and Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote ($49.99) (standard remote optional, for $39.99 instead - but WHY not choose Voice search rather than typing in a search, for $10 difference?)
"Last year, we introduced the first Amazon Fire TV, combining voice search
that actually works, fast and powerful performance, and an open ecosystem to
deliver the easiest way to watch Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu,
WatchESPN, and more on your big-screen TV. Since launch, Fire TV has become
the #1 best-selling Amazon device category, with Fire TV Stick quickly
becoming our fastest-selling product ever.
Today, we are making those best-selling products even better. Today we are intrducing the next generation of Fire TV -- the new Amazon Fire TV with support for 4K Ultra HD,
and the new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote."
' Introducing the New Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote
The new Amazon Fire TV is 75% more powerful, with best-in-class Wi-Fi, support for Alexa, and 4K Ultra HD—and is still less than $100
Amazon Fire TV offers the most 4K Ultra HD movies, and is half the price of any other 4K Ultra HD streaming media player
Voice features on Fire TV just got better: Alexa, the brain behind Echo, is now available on Fire TV devices -- ask for music, information, weather, traffic, and more
Over 3,000 channels, apps, and games now available -- more than Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or any other streaming media player -- plus you can now add up to 128 GB of additional storage via microSD to take advantage of this great selection
New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote—simple and easy-to-use voice search and Alexa integration via included remote—all for less than $50 '
Fire TV Gaming
"Today we also introduced a new version of Fire TV designed for affordable,
high-quality gaming. Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition includes the all-new Fire
TV, the new Fire TV Game Controller, a 32 GB microSD card, and two popular
games: Shovel Knight and Disney's Ducktales -- all for just $139.99 (regularly
' Introducing the New Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition—Take Game Night to the Next Level
Fire TV Gaming Edition combines the new Amazon Fire TV, new game controller, a 32 GB microSD card, and two included games: Shovel Knight and Disney’s Ducktales—all for $139.99
New Amazon Fire TV Game Controller includes an all-new ergonomic design, a headphone jack, and voice search -- available as part of the Gaming Edition or as an optional accessory for Fire TV
The all new Fire TV has 75% more processing power, 2x GPU performance, plus expandable microSD storage up to 128 GB—offering incredible value and powerful performance for gamers
Amazon Fire TV has more games than any other streaming media player - new popular games include Minecraft Story Mode, Pac Man 256, Disney’s Ducktales, and Shovel Knight. '
Their Fire Stick page points out that (until Google updates its stick again) Fire TV Stick is the only video-streaming stick with Voice-Remote Control and has "4x the storage and 2x the memory of Chromecast plus a dual-core processor, 1 GB of memory, and ASAP" for fast Amazon video loading.
Updates (As of 9/22/15, 12:20 pm PDT)
I'll do a separate blog entry for highlights from some tech site reactions I've read, mostly quite positive.
• Mainstream tech sites point out, of course, that Apple released this week its new Apple TV update without support for streaming 4K 'Ultra HD' video until later on.
Forbes was pretty clear on the situation.
• Note that ALL the new Fire tablets -- including the "kids" version with 2 year warranty (no questions asked) which also has an IPS screen -- have MicroSD card slots that allow you to expand storage space by 128 GB.
• Here are comparison tables for the new Fire tablets and FireTV devices. They can be kept in a separate window that you can switch to and from while reading about features on an individual product page.
• I asked Amazon for info on the MicroSD card types compatible with the new devices.
Here is the response:
" - We support class 4 and above, including Class 10, UHS etc.
For best performance we recommend Class 10 cards or above.
" - It supports both SDHC and SDXC.
" - The tablets provide the amount of on-device storage you've purchased with
the tablet, plus up to an additional 128GB via microSD card."
My Microsoft Surface Pro 2 laptop's MicroSD slot supports only (at least officially)
a 64GB MicroSD card.
• I added a note to the $50 Fire to highlight the Amazon reference to a "six-pack" for for the price of five.
• In the Comments area of this blog, it's been pointed out that the new UI emphasizes sets of regular-sized icons for favorite content, including ones recently accessed, so many are hoping the huge Carousel icons are gone. The reader comments themselves may be of interest to those with questions about the latest offerings.
• The comparison chart shows that even the $50 tablet gets "Mayday" help (but first, phone or email is tried and if that doesn't work, then an Amazon rep can help by working on your tablet with you, live).
• Added a note that the display resolution chosen for the 8" and 10.1" tablets is somewhat lower than for the previous HD/HDX units, in a trade-off for more attractive pricing and a slimmer, lighter tablet.
• Added, within the blog section for the $50 model, a link to Amazon's nicely-priced Sandisk MicroSD cards. This will give an idea of the cost after adding any extra storage wanted, though the unlimited, free Cloud storage for Amazon-purchased content can help.
And here's a link to ALL MicroSD cards, sorted by average customer rating.
The Sandisk cards are currently priced $5 to $20 lower than if bought with the tablets.
• Added UK product pages to the Global Listing of Kindles.
• Had not pointed out that the new Fires don't offer cellular network 3G or 4G access options, only WiFi.
• While the $50 Fire TV cannot 'mirror' to an HDTV what you're doing on the tablet, it DOES come with the 'Fling' feature.
"Fling" lets you send, from even this inexpensive tablet, an Amazon video to the TV so that it plays from the Cloud instead of from the tablet, freeing it so that you can use the tablet for other things -- whether just to read about what you're seeing ('Xray' feature) or do normal tablet things on it (read a book, play an app) while the movie or TV show displays on the HDTV for everyone in the room, with none of the buffering issues common to other ways of doing this.
This can be done using a Fire TV or Fire TV stick, which both offer Amazon's Fling technology.
This can be a workaround for those whose TVs no longer function with Amazon Instant Video due to changes. Amazon Instant Video no longer has support for Google TV and no longer functions on some smart tv's. Software updates may help in some cases.
• See this heavy.com article which takes information from several sites, about changes that affect watching Amazon Instant on certain TVs.
In connection with that, here is Amazon's page for its database listing of every compatible device and television. (It doesn't include, yet, the new Fire tablets and FireTV, Fire-Stick devices.)
• Note the follow-up blog article 10/2/15 for reactions to the delivered tablets as well as the product reviews posted by Amazon Friday night.
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