New tablets ahoy! With the holiday shopping season weeks away, Amazon has plopped two new Kindle Fire tablets onto its homepage and added an "X" to the branding to make sure you know these is the new hotness. The 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets run on 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processors, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPUs, which they claim quadruple the performance of 2012's Fires. And, of course, Amazon's going the high resolution screen route, with the 7-inch now using a 1920x1200 pixel display and the 8.9-inch getting extra dense at 2560x1600.
The 7-inch HDX starts at $229 and the 8.9-inch starts at $379. The HDX's new innards give it a significantly faster clock speed than Google's $229 Nexus 7 tablet--2.2GHz compared to 1.5GHz--as well as a faster GPU. The Nexus 7 runs the Adreno 320, and Anandtech benchmarks from a few months back have shown the Adreno 330 GPU nearly doubling the 320's framerate in a 3DMark graphics test.
The Nexus 7 is still lighter than the HDX, 10.2 ounces (290 grams) versus 10.7 ounces (303 grams), though Amazon points out its larger 8.9-inch tablet has gotten much thinner and lighter. It now weighs 34 percent less, or 13.2 ounces (374 grams). Amazon redesigned the bodies of the tablets, and the 8.9 now has a smaller bezel to go with its lighter weight.
Last, and definitely least, the $140 Kindle Fire HD (X notably absent) has gotten a little bump in performance by taking over last year's premium parts. It's running on a 1.5GHz processor and a 1280x800 pixel display.
Despite the fancy new hardware, the majority of Amazon's changes are happening on the software side.
The company is rolling out a new Mayday feature where an Amazon helper will pop up on your screen whenever you need a little guidance, and they'll draw on your screen to direct you to movies or settings or whatever you're looking for. Amazon Instant videos can now be downloaded to the tablets. The music player will now display song lyrics when you listen to a track.
There are more new features coming along with the OS overhaul, which is now officially dubbed Fire OS. It's running on Android 4.0, though Google Play Store access is still nowhere to be seen. Enterprise is getting some love, with support for wireless printing, VPNs, and encrypted email and browsing.
Amazon's also making a big push for Second Screen functionality with a beefed up X-Ray feature that displays song names, characters, and trivia pulled from IMDB. People with PlayStations and Samsung Smart TVs will also be able to fling content from the tablet to the television, though the tablet is acting as a remote control, not a streaming device.
All of the tablets are available now, with most of the new software available as well. A few features like the enterprise support are coming in a 3.1 software update sometime in November.