Amazon has announced its new tablet, the Kindle Fire HD, in two editions, two days ago. The editions available in this new tablet family include a 7 inch model and an 8.9 inch model. Based on the tone of the announcement, one could tell Amazon is targeting Apple iPad hard. Here in this article, let’s look at the highly ambitious new product from Amazon and see how far it could go into the future.
The Tech Specs
The original Kindle Fire was released by the end of 2011. In this HD version, the tablet has two incarnations; check out their specifications below.
|feature||Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch||Kindle Fire HD 7-inch|
|Display||LCD IPS 8.9 inches, resolution: 1920×1200; 254ppi||LCD IPS 7 inches; resolution: 1280×800|
|Operating System||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (with modification)||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (with modifications)|
|Processor||Dual-core OMAP 4470 1.5 GHz||Dual-core OMAP 4460 1.2 GHz|
|Graphics Chip||IT SGX 544||IT SGX 544|
|Memory||16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB, 64GB|
|Size & Weight||240x160x8.8mm (9.45×6.5×0.35 inches); 567 g (20 oz)||193x137x10.3mm (7.6×5.4×0.4 inches); 395 g (13.9 oz)|
|Data Package||4G LTE Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)|
|Battery Performance||Not yet announced||Over 11 hours of various activities|
|Audio||Dual Stereo Speakers with Dolby Digital Plus||Dual Stereo Speakers with Dolby Digital Plus|
Looking at the specifications, one could easily say that highly ambitious Amazon wants to target both of the segments in the tablet market—high end tablets dominated by Apple iPad and low-end tablets like the Google Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0. The future of the competition remains to be seen.
Based on the specification, Kindle Fire HD’s display is one of the best available in the market today. Samsung Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Nexus 7, Asus EE Pad Transformer Prime, etc., all have lower if not comparable resolutions with lower ppi ratio.
Besides this, the Fire HD has advanced polarization filter that filters out any glare and gives a really wide viewing angle, thanks to the IPS technology. This makes the LCD IPS display of Kindle Fire HD superior to the displays available on other top-selling tablets. However, Apple iPad’s Retina display is still unmatched in the market.
Kindle Fire HD comes with dual-core processors, 1.5 GHz and 1.2 GHz. Although pretty fast, looking at the clock speed, the future belongs to quad-core processors. Google Nexus 7, EE Pad, Sony Xperia, etc., come with quad-core processors. Quad-core processors are there in the smartphone market too, on phones like Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, HTC One X, etc.
With a dual-core processor, you may soon be compelled to upgrade to better hardware—a point not in favor of Kindle Fire HD.
The Connectivity, Data, & Storage Plans
The data package given by Amazon with Kindle Fire HD 8.9 includes 250 MB of data a month at 4G LTE speeds. The speed given by the tablet exceeds that given by Apple iPad on 4G and Wi-Fi. iPad has a maximum capability of 22 Mbps while Kindle Fire HD goes at 31 Mbps speed with the help of MIMO technology (dual antenna).
250MB, if you don’t know the specification, is about half the size of a regular old world CD-ROM, or about 124 emails with attachments, or about 4 hours of browsing. In a month, 4 hours of browsing is definitely not going to suffice, and you will end up paying more for the plan.
Another caveat you get with this tablet is the huge cloud storage option of 20 GB through Amazon Cloud Drive. This is far better than any other cloud storage service out there—Apple iCloud gives only 5 GB, Microsoft SkyDrive comes with 7 GB, and Google Drive offers 5 GB. Besides the standard in-built storage of 16/32/64 GB depending on the model, you get Internet storage of 20 GB. Amazon’s little tablet is not that bad, huh?
Amazon has always been poor in designing its devices. Do you remember how lame the first Kindle looked? It seemed like Amazon designers had no clue as to what is going on in the design world.
The bad design ideas of Amazon continues with Kindle Fire HD. The tablet looks haven’t seen any bit of innovation. Addition of a synthetic bottom doesn’t make it visually stunning either. However, textured leather cover keeps it protected from scratches and gives good grip. The design is simple and practical, not visually stunning. If you want a really good-looking tablet, take a look at Sony Xperia range or Asus Transformer Prime.
This is one area that Amazon scores brilliantly. Based on the package chosen, the price of this tablet ranges from 200 to 600 dollars. A 16 GB tablet with all basic necessary features for just 200 dollars is just awesome. And that’s pretty much all you need. If you need higher storage, you can go for the 32 GB version of Fire HD 7. The 8.9 inch version starts at 300 dollars and the LTE version is available for 500 dollars.
The operating system that runs on the tablet is the previous version of Android, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Also, it’s not the regular Android you are familiar with. It is a tweaked version developed by Amazon just for this tablet. All of the apps supported by Android are available for download, and the tablet comes pre-packed with several of them including popular games. There is no apparent need to install anything extra when you purchase it.
Jelly Bean is the fastest and smoothest version of Android, and it is a disadvantage that Amazon doesn’t support it yet. We can expect to see firmware updates that will include Jelly Bean for this tablet.
Other stuff that you get from Kindle Fire HD includes the following:
- Free books from Kindle owners’ ‘Lending Library’, where over 180,000 titles are available, including bestselling books
- Amazon Prime members get unlimited streaming of over 25,000 titles including movies and TV shows
- Easy access to Amazon’s ever-expansive bookstore with over 1.2 million titles and over 400 magazines
- Music library of over 20 million tracks
Whatever you purchase within these libraries gets stored in your cloud storage of 20 GB, and the browser you use on Kindle Fire HD, Amazon Silk, is fully compatible with the cloud storage given.
Looking at the hardware features given and the price tag, the profit margin of Kindle Fire HD is very slim. This is the reason why Amazon is actively marketing these optional extras which will keep you paying the company while using the product—a very viable marketing method that borders on exploitation of the need for better hardware at affordable prices.
Overall, I would say Amazon has aced this release. Good job, guys! If you want a practical tablet at a very affordable price, and not something that looks stunning, then this tablet is perfect for you. On the other hand, if you don’t want to look geeky, go for some other like Asus Transformer Prime, because it’s in the looks department alone that this tablet doesn’t score.