Hitting the market tomorrow, Amazon is billing its new Fire HD tablets as lighter and more durable than Apple's much more expensive iPad Air. But Amazon probably doesn't have iPad killers on its hands, according to early reviews.
Amazon plans to start selling two new tablets tomorrow: the Fire HD 8 with an eight-inch display, which retails at $149.99, and the 10.1-inch Fire HD 10 [pictured], priced at $229.99. Jeff Bezos, the company's founder and CEO, has said the new devices "deliver the best entertainment experience available on a tablet."
Each device features a quad-core processor, widescreen HD display, Gorilla Glass screen and stereo speakers with Dolby Audio and 5.1 virtual surround sound. Available with 8 GB to 32 GB of memory (the HD 8 offers 8 GB or 16 GB, while the HD 10 comes with 16 GB or 32 GB), each tablet also supports up to 128 GB of additional storage via microSD.
Designed for Amazon Users
Many of the reviews of the Fire HD appearing today don't slam the devices so much as offer so-so praise. "Cheap, yet refined," according to Engadget, while SlashGear noted, "there's certainly a lot to like about the HD 10 on paper."
According to some reviewers, the new Fire HD tablets are clearly designed for regular users of Amazon's streaming video services and apps.
"Where the Kindle Fire HD 10 does shine is, to be honest, where Amazon shines, in content and access to its growing list of services," according to Mashable. "The experience is especially good if you are a paying Amazon Prime member."
Fortune's review is among the harshest, calling the Fire HD 10 "a rare misfire" for Amazon. Criticisms of the device include a "slow processor," "low resolution" and "not ideal for reading."
New Features: On Deck, Amazon Underground
In fact, while Amazon was at the forefront of e-reading with its Kindle, which launched in 2007, the consensus appears to be that the new Fire HD tablets are clearly meant for users who subscribe to Amazon services like Prime for video or Audible for music. The home screen displays a range of Amazon content to choose from, along with recently accessed content and personalized suggestions.
The On Deck feature uses the tablet's available storage in an "opportunistic" shadow mode to ensure that downloaded entertainment will be easily accessible later, such as when a user is about to take a flight and realizes he or she has forgotten to download something new to listen to or watch.
The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 are powered by Fire OS 5, Amazon's version of the Android mobile operating system. They're also the first of the company's devices to feature Amazon Underground, a built-in "app store experience" that gives users access to a wide variety of apps, games and in-app items. Users also get Mayday Screen Sharing, which provides free, 24/7 online tech support.
Image credit: Product shot by Amazon.
Posted: 2015-09-29 @ 12:41pm PT
"The best entertainment experience available on a tablet"? Who is Mr. Bezos trying to fool? His tablets have worse resolution than cheap no-name iPad knock-offs that sell in the same price range on Chinese e-commerce sites. Amazon is late and behind. I would not replace my iPad with a Fire not even if they pay me.