Amazon blazes forward with new FireOS and Kindle HD(X) devices

As a business which profits from content; Amazon, like Google, want their services in as many hands as possible – that’s why the companies sell subsidized devices such as the ‘Kindle’ and ‘Nexus’ lines (respectively) at a great value accessible to most.

Over the holiday launch period in late-2011; the original Kindle Fire HD shipped 1.2 million devices, placing the tablet in third place behind hardware heavyweights Apple and Samsung – gradually slipping as the gift buying season ended.

Todd Bishop over at GeekWire has the likely theory: “With its low price, the Kindle Fire is hard for holiday gift buyers to pass up, but it’s not something that as many people will buy for themselves during other times of the year.”

Releasing in time to capitalise on this holiday season is the follow-up device(s) which slap an ‘X’ on the end of the name; the Kindle Fire HDX 7" and HDX 8.9".

Consumers are a little smarter than to simply fall for a new name however, especially with such great alternatives now available on the market; therefore the HDX comes with a whole host of souped-up insides and some intriguing software additions.

Let’s talk about what’s under-the-hood first; with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2 GHz - it is the only tablet running at over 2 GHz - offering 3x the power compared to its predecessor. On the outside – the device is astoundingly 34% lighter.

Pair this with the “exclusive” HDX display bolstering 323 ppi (for 7″) and 339 ppi (for 8.9″) pixel density; "perfect" 100% sRGB colour accuracy, reduced glare, dynamic image contrast, and improved brightness for better viewing in any lighting conditions – that’s a winning combination.

Of course good hardware can be spoiled by poor software - which let’s be honest - was a problem Amazon knew all too well with its original (and buggy) FireOS.

Hopefully this time will be better; running Android 4.2.2 at its base and skinned with the company’s own services and branding. The new Fire OS 3.0 has been given the “Mojito” codename –with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services like X-Ray for Music, Cloud Collections, Goodreads, and more.

Whilst the interface itself hasn’t changed much – it still puts content first – one of the more intriguing additions is a service only Amazon is best poised to offer...

The feature, called ‘Mayday’, connects you to a live support at the press of a button 24/7 at any time over the 365 days in a year. Your device can be remotely controlled to assist you; whilst I’ll be waiting to knock up the first story of a rogue Amazon employee.

Clearly Amazon had plenty of requests from business users to improve their enterprise features, and they have implemented just that with hardware and software-encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure Wi-Fi connections, VPN integration, and wireless printing.

All in all this appears (on paper at least) a fantastic improvement to Amazon’s tablet-line; whilst even competitive to some of the most premium hardware available from any manufacturer.

What do you think of Amazon’s new FireOS and Kindle Fire HDX?

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27 Sep 2013, 7:22 p.m.

Good to see that Amazon is taking security more seriously. The question is: how well will it integrate with corporate networks (at levels 3 & 4 of the OSI model)?