Amazon has updated its duo of Kindle Fire tabets, the new 7-inch HD and the 8.9-inch HDX. Notable are increased screen resolution, much faster processors and the "Mayday button" that launches access to an Amazon expert who can co-pilot the user through difficulties.
The 7-inch model starts at US$139, ad supported, and has 8 GB of storage. The price rises to $184 with 16 GB of storage, without special offers on the lock screen and screen savers. It features 1.5 GHz dual core processor, and the display resolution is 1280 x 800 (216 ppi).
There is also a HDX version of the 7-inch with higher resolution, 1920x1200 (323 ppi), and a faster 2.2 GHz processor. It starts at $229.
The 8.9-inch model, HDX, starts at $379 with 16 GB of storage, ad supported. A 64 GB model without ads is priced at $494. There are also versions with 4G/LTE with Verizon or AT&T for $100 more. What's interesting about the 8.9-inch model is the light weight (13.2 oz. 375 g), a display resolution of 2460 x1600 (339 ppi), and a 2.2 GHz quad core processor claimed to be three times faster than the previous model.
A new feature of the Kindle Fire series, that CEO Jeff Bezos is very proud of is the "Mayday" button. As Amazon describes it: "With a single tap, an Amazon expert will appear on your Fire HDX and can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you -- whatever works best. Mayday is available 24x7, 365 days a year, and it's free."
These new tablets, scheduled to ship in early October and early November, respectively, are aggressive in their price and technology and should considerably up Amazon's game in the tablet wars.