By Stephen Schenck | September 25, 2013 11:03 AM
The past few months have brought us all sorts of rumors about Amazon’s next generation of Kindle Fire tablets, revealing a new design with rear-mounted buttons, as well as offering some pretty detailed hardware specs, suggesting we’d be looking at both resolution and processor improvements. It sure looked like these models – reportedly one new 8.9-inch tablet and two 7-inchers – were nearly ready to launch, but just when would that be? Well, early this morning Amazon went ahead and made an unexpected announcement, revealing two Kindle Fire HDX models and one new Kindle Fire HD.
Sure enough, the specs we heard about seem pretty dead-on, with these HDX models both sporting Snapdragon 800 SoCs. There’s one 7-inch and one 8.9-inch tablet, with resolutions of 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600, respectively. Both will be available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations, along with the option for WiFi-only or 4G connectivity. There’s also a RAM boost to 2GB, front-facing cameras on both, and an 8-megapixel rear camera on the 8.9-inch model.
We also get another 7-inch model, this time a new Kindle Fire HD. It gets a 1280 x 800 resolution, runs a 1.5GHz dual-core SoC, and will be available in 8GB or 16GB versions.
All three of these tablets will run the new Fire OS 3.0 Mojito, Amazon’s latest customized platform. One of the big hooks in this release is what Amazon calls its Mayday button, an on-call tech support option available around the clock, connecting users to live employees for help with their tablets, all for free.
The 7-inch HDX starts at about $230 WiFi, $330 4G, while the 8.9-inch model will go for more like $380 WiFi, $480 4G. Pre-orders for both begin today, with the 7-incher shipping on November 14 and the 8.9-incher on December 10. The new 7-inch HD will sell for about $140 – again with pre-orders starting now – and will ship before those HDX models, on October 2.