Amazon today announced two models for its Fire tablet line that take affordability to a whole new level. To put that into perspective, Amazon's entry-level color tablets now cost roughly as much as the Paperwhite e-reader. Pre-orders for the new devices begin tonight ahead of an October ship date.
"The team has packed an incredible amount of technology and innovation into the new Fire HDX... and it's still startlingly light," Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a release.
The Seattle-based Internet titan also unveiled a version of the high-definition Fire tablet designed especially for children with perks such as a year of unlimited access to thousands of book, films, and games as well as free replacement if broken within two years of purchase.
What turns it into a tablet for your kids? For starters, the Fire for your youngster comes with a protective colorful case that Amazon otherwise separately sells as an accessory. Moreover, if the tablet breaks for any reason - kids being kids, this may be inevitable - Amazon will replace it free for the first two years you own it, no questions asked.
Parents can also set time limits and manage the content their kids can read or watch. And the tablets come with a free year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited subscription service, which includes more than 5,000 kid-appropriate books, movies, TV episodes, educational apps and games at no extra cost.
Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7: Amazon also refreshed the tablet that's a step down from the HDX: The Kindle Fire HD, which is now available in both the new 6-inch ($99) and 7-inch ($139) models in a range of colors. Each of the high-definition displays are crisper than that of the previous Fire HD, which was available only in a 7-inch model. Both the Fire HD and HDX models will run the new Fire OS 4 "Sangria," Amazon's operating system that is built on Android. You can buy HD6 and HD7.
Fire HD for kids: The Kindle Fire HD 6 and 7 each come in new "Kids Edition" options $149 and $189, respectively. When little Susie smashes the screen, parents can send the sad remaining bits of the broken device back to Amazon and receive a replacement. The offer is good for two years after purchase. An included rubber pink, blue or green case is meant to stand up to the terror of toddlers so the devices are less likely to break in the first place. You can buy it here
Amazon says that Fire OS 4 will be available to al third-generation Kindle Fire tablets via an over-the-air update, while the aforementioned Fire Phone will get the update early in 2015.
The Fire HDX comes with an 8.9-inch display, which Amazon claims has one million more pixels than an iPad Air, sporting in at 339 pixels-per-inch (ppi). It's also light, and easy to hold, even with one hand - at 13 ounces.
It runs the latest Snapdragon 805 (2.5Ghz) processor, and a graphics unit with 75 percent faster graphics than its predecessor. It also comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi for fast networking speeds. Like with the Kindle Voyage, it comes with Dynamic Lighting Control, which makes the pages of an e-book resemble more closely the paper on a book.
The tablet has a front-facing camera for video calls, and an 8-megapixel rear camera, capable of 1080p video.