At least for now, Amazon might be out of the smartphone game but that doesn’t mean their device ambitions are winding down. Today Amazon unveiled a number of new products, including a refresh to its Fire media streamers. Additionally, the company has outed the latest members of the Kindle Fire tablet family, bringing us a total of four new entries dubbed the Fire HD8, HD10, Fire, and the Fire Kids.
Kindle Fire and the Fire Kids
At the lowest-end of the spectrum we find the Fire, which is probably the model that will arguably find the most commercial success. The entry-level tablet has a 7-inch IPS display with a 1024×600 resolution and a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor. Other specs include a 2MP rear cam, VGA front cam, 1GB RAM, and 8GB storage. That said, it does have a new trick up its sleeve: microSD for expansion. Even more exciting, the tablet is priced at just $50.
While it isn’t impossible to find a working tablet for around $50 in 2015, generally you are talking about an off-brand tab that may or may not have a functional app store present and will have limited to no support from the company that produces it. Amazon, on the other hand, is a big company with a reasonably solid rep and so we wouldn’t be surprised if the new Fire becomes a favorite among parents looking for a cheap tablet to gift their children.
For families looking to give a Fire to everyone, Amazon is even selling a six-pack for the price of 5 tablets. At $250 for six, that’s still cheaper than many people pay for just one tablet (cough.. iPad buyers…. cough).
Speaking of family and children, next up in their line-up is the Fire Kids. Basically this is just the $50 tablet wrapped in special protective clothes and coming with a two-year “no worry guarantee” that means your kid can destroy the device and Amazon will replace it without asking questions. The Kids version also comes with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which offers kid-friendly books, games, and shows.
Fire HD8 and H10
For Amazon fans on the higher end of the spectrum, the HD8 and H10 are the flagship offerings of the tablet line. As you guessed by their names, they are 8-inch and 10.1-inch tablets respectively. Both screens have Gorilla Glass for added protection, and give off 400 nits of brightness and have resolutions of 1280×800.
Under the hood for both flagship models, you’ll find a quad-core MediaTek 1.5GHz processor with again just 1GB RAM. The new tablets have 5MP rear cams and 720p front cams, and battery lives rated at around 8 hours. On the storage front, you’ll find 8GB for the HD8 and 16GB for the HD10, both with microSD for expansion. These specs aren’t exactly high-end, but the pricing is still rather aggressive at $150 for the HD8 and $230 for the HD10. Color choices include black, magenta, blue, and tangerine colors for the HD8, while the Fire HD 10 comes just in black or white.
All three tablets will run a new version of Fire OS, OS 5.0 Bellini. The latest update offers a new user interface that focuses on making it easier to find things, while looking sharper than the old UI. There’s also a new Word Runner app for speed reading, and the two higher-end entries get a new “On Deck” feature that lets the HD8 and HD10 automatically download movies and shows based on the preferences of the user. This video content will then be ready to go at an airport, without the user having to remember to download anything for a flight or other trip where they won’t have access. An interesting feature, though we imagine it is probably possible to disable it for those worried about space constraints.
That wraps up Amazon’s latest Kindle Fire entrants. What do you think, would you buy any of them? If so, which model and why?