Amazon announced today their 7- and 8.9-inch Kindle HDX tablets are now available for pre-order and will begin shipping by November 26th.
The company completely overhauled their tablet lineup with the HDX, featuring much-improved specs and a new Fire OS 3.0 that’s based on Android 4.2.
Canadians don’t have access to the same bevy of content that Americans do — we can’t purchase music or movies directly from Amazon, for example — and the company’s App Store does not match the breadth of titles available on Google Play, but the tablets are great value nonetheless.
The 7-inch tablet, which sports a 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 800 processor, a 1920×1200 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, dual-band WiFi, a front-facing HD camera, and 11 hours of battery life, will start at $254 CDN for the 16GB model, going up to $294 for the 32GB version and $334 for the 64GB model. In contrast, the entry-level Nexus 7, which has the same screen size but a slightly slower processor, sells for $229 and offers free ground shipping, too.
Perhaps more compelling is the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX, which offers the same specs as the smaller version but increases the screen resolution to an astounding 2560×1600 pixels and adds an 8MP rear camera. It starts at $399 for the 16GB version and increases by $50 increments for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively.
Both models are made of a magnesium composite and are very light, and the new Fire OS 3.0 is certainly an improvement, both in terms of speed and features, over the previous models (which will also be upgraded in due time), but there are few compelling reasons to pick the Kindles over other Android tablets, especially the Nexus 7, due to limited content availability.
We’ll be reviewing the tablets when they’re released in November, so our opinion might change, but hopefully Amazon realizes that Canadians want access to the same content — movies and music especially — as their American counterparts.
In addition to releasing the new tablets, Amazon has lowered the price of its existing 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, beginning at $149 for the 8GB model and rising to $179 for the 16GB version. While slower and less sharp than the new HDX variants, the Kindle Fire HD will begin shipping with the new Fire OS 3.0 beginning October 24th, and should be a great budget tablet for the holidays.