Amazon Kindle Fire HD: specs, pricing, processor and release date detailed
Missed last night’s Amazon reveal? Fear not, here’s a recap of everything you need to know about the Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Amazon has launched its second-generation Kindle Fire tablet, known as the Kindle Fire HD. As the name suggests, the device has a revamped 800x1280 pixel IPS panel, a new processor, and a significantly overhauled design.
Both the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the older Kindle Fire tablet will be available in the UK from October 25 and cost £159 and £129 respectively. Sadly the UK will not be getting the larger 8.9-inch version, which Amazon only plans on releasing in the US – at least for the time being, anyway.
So what’s new inside the Kindle Fire HD?
First and foremost is its display. Amazon has swapped out the old 7-inch 1024x600 IPS panel and replaced it with an altogether more detailed 7-inch 1280x800 LCD IPS panel. That means better pixel density, improved viewing angles, and greater text and image clarity.
The 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD ups the ante further with the inclusion of an 8.9-inch 1920x1200 pixel LCD IPS display, which equates to an impressive pixel density of 254ppi. To put that into context, the iPad 3’s pixel density is 264ppi and the slate costs a lot more.
The only problem with the 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD is that it’s not coming to the UK. You will also pay a premium for that extra screen resolution and size, however. Amazon says it’ll cost $299 in the US. That’s still around $100 cheaper than Apple’s iPad, making the case for an ultra-affordable iPad Mini all the more compelling.
Here are the specs for both variants of the Kindle Fire HD:
- 8.9-inch IPS touchscreen display with 1920x1200 resolution and 254 ppi (for the 8.9-inch version)
- 7-inch IPS touchscreen display (for the 7-inch version)
- Laminated touch sensor that helps decrease glare by 25 per cent
- TI OMAP 4470 processor said to outperform the current Tegra 3 chip
- 16GB memory
- Stereo speakers
- Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/5GHz and MIMO support (the first tablet to incorporate it)
- HDMI out
- HD front-facing camera with custom Skype app
- Forked version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich
- Whisperync for Voice – syncs audiobooks with reading to offer an advanced “Immersion Reading”
- Whispersync for Games – save game progress and continue progress from the last saved session, even when switching to a different device
- X-Ray for movies – find out details about movie characters/actors while playing a movie
- X-Ray for ebooks – offers book-related details taken from the web
- All New Email: Exchange support, improved reliability and sync. Support for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.
- Facebook integration – custom Facebook app
- Kindle for kids functionality: Kindle FreeTime supporting multiple customizable profiles (one for each kid)
The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will cost £159. That gets you 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, a front-facing HD camera, and ultra-fast Wi-Fi, which Amazon claims is 40 per cent faster than the iPad 3’s setup.
For £199 you can get a 32GB model, that's the same price as the 16GB Nexus 7.
7-Inch Kindle Fire HD: Dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460
8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD: Dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470
Texas Instruments released the OMAP 4470 system on a chip back in 2011. It’s a dual-core setup based on ARM Cortex-A9 chips that will run at a maximum speed or 1.8GHz – that’s around 20 per cent faster than the OMAP 4460 found inside the 7-inch UK-bound version of the Kindle Fire HD.
The graphic processor is a PowerVR SGX544 GPU running at 384MHz, up 25 per cent from the 304MHz of the SGX540.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos claims that the TI OMAP chipsets inside the new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD outperforms Nvidia’s Tegra 3 setup. His logic goes something like this: the OMAP 4470 can do 12 billion floating point operations per second while Nvidia’s Tegra 3 can do only 8 billion. Second, the OMAP 4470 has 7.5GB/s memory bandwidth – 40 per cent more than Nvidia’s Tegra 3, which has 5.3GB/s.
It’s a good point but whether it will actually translate into smoother performance for the end-user remains to be seen. Plus, Bezos is referring to the OMAP 4470 above – the one inside the US-only 8.9-inch Fire HD, and not the older OMAP 4460 inside the 7-inch version.
That said, the Tegra 3 only has single channel RAM which should be a bit slower than the OMAP 4460's dual-channel memory.
Wi-Fi that’s 40 per cent faster
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD is the first slate to ship with Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/5GHz and MIMO support. Amazon says this makes the device 40 per cent faster over a Wi-Fi connection than Apple’s iPad 3. The company also confirmed that 3G & 4G versions would be launching at a later date, though they will carry heftier price tags.
‘Kindle Fire HD can automatically switch between the 2.4 GHz network and the newer, less crowded 5 GHz network, resulting in better range and less interference,’ said Amazon.
It added: ‘In addition, dual antennas and Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) allow for higher bandwidth and longer range. The new Kindle Fire HD is the first tablet to market with all three of these latest generation Wi-Fi technologies-dual-band support, dual antennas, and MIMO.’
Connect with Bluetooth and HDMI
The Kindle Fire HD supports Bluetooth, enabling customers to connect their wireless Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth speakers to listen to songs, videos or audiobooks. With Bluetooth connectivity, users can also easily connect to a wide range of Bluetooth-enabled keyboards. HDMI out makes it easy to connect the Kindle Fire HD to HDTV so that you can watch all your movies on the big screen.
There’s also some exclusive Amazon-only services rolled into the Fire HD. These are:
X-Ray for Books
One year ago, Amazon introduced X-Ray on Kindle Touch, and customers loved it. Amazon is extending X-Ray to books on Kindle Fire, making it easier than ever for customers to learn more about the content they love by exploring the bones of the book.
With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon's community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers.
X-Ray for Movies
X-Ray for Movies is a new feature that revolutionizes the movie experience by bringing the power of IMDb directly to movies on Kindle Fire HD, accessible with a simple tap. Without ever leaving the movie, customers can look up any actor in the scene or movie, see what other movies they have been in, and view photos, biographies and more.
X-Ray is offered only by Amazon and is exclusive to the Amazon ecosystem. IMDb, an Amazon company for 14 years, is the #1 movie website in the world with more than 160 million monthly unique visitors worldwide.
X-Ray for Textbooks
Glossaries in print textbooks contain the most important information for students, but they're placed inconveniently in the back of the book. And glossaries don't always contain enough information for students working to understand new concepts.
X-Ray for Textbooks solves these problems by integrating the glossary directly into each textbook page and by algorithmically assembling related data from Wikipedia and YouTube.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD is now available for pre-order in the UK with a release date scheduled for October 25.