Amazon has unveiled 6in and 7in Fire HD tablets alongside its new Kindle and Kindle Voyage touchscreen e-readers, marking the firm’s latest attempt to conquer the hardware market from Google and Apple.
Both the Fire HD tablets are designed to take on the more established Google Nexus 7 and Apple iPad Mini devices, and come loaded with a number of exclusive Amazon features, showcased in the Fire OS 4 Sangria operating system (OS).
The OS is a heavily customised version of Android that replaces the main grid-based home screen with a carousel user interface and replaces Google services, such as the Play Store and Music, with Amazon’s.
Most of the OS’s services are consumer and entertainment focused. These include an advanced family profiles feature, content-sharing between family members and an Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) that pre-caches videos it expects you will want to watch.
The only notable productivity addition to the Fire HD tablets is the inclusion of the WPS Office app, which lets users create, edit and view Office documents.
On a hardware front neither Fire HD tablet has high specifications. The smaller tablet will feature a 6in HD 252ppi display, while the larger model will include a lower-resolution HD 7in 216ppi screen.
Both Fire HD devices will run using an unspecified 1.5GHz quad-core processor and battery Amazon claims will last for up to eight hours of normal use.
The Fire HD tablets are available for preorder now. The 6in model costs £79 while the 7in model retails for £119.
Amazon unveiled two new Kindle e-readers alongside the Fire HDs. The first Kindle Voyage (pictured above) is designed to be the thinnest, “most advanced” e-reader available.
Measuring 162x115x7.6mm, the Kindle Voyager features an advanced 6in, 300ppi display that is coated in strengthened, etched glass designed to resist scratches and reduce glare.
PagePress is another key addition designed to make reading on the Kindle Voyager more pleasant. It uses a custom-designed force sensor that sits directly under the bezel to let you turn pages simply by squeezing the tablet.
Finally Amazon unveiled a new basic e-reader. The reworked Kindle has the same design as its predecessor but features a new touch interface, unspecified processor Amazon claims will offer users 20 percent better performance than the previous model and upgraded 4GB of internal storage.
Pricing for the new Kindle starts at £59, while the Kindle Voyage costs £169. Both e-readers are available for preorder now and will begin shipping on 4 November.
The Fire HD tablets and new Kindles follow the launch of Amazon’s Fire Phone. Amazon made the Fire Phone available for preorder in the UK earlier in September.
Check back with V3 later for in-depth reviews of the Fire HD tablets and new Kindles.