Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

Let it rain!

Five more press releases from Amazon with new hardware announcements (and these may not be the last this holiday season).

I’m not always right, but it’s fun when I am. 😉

I said yesterday that a flurry of press releases and the unavailability of the Amazon Fire TV suggested we might get hardware announcements this week…they’re here!

There are some significant developments here…I’ll deal with those in a moment, but I do want to mention that these announcements don’t include new EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fire, non-backlit) or a new Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (although there is a ground-breaking announcement on Alexa, the “parse-onality” of the Echo). I think EBR announcements are still forthcoming, and that we probably won’t get an Echo 2 announcement, but that we’ll hear a lot about the Echo (including the “Alexa Skills” and more features).

Let’s start with Fire tablets. Those are used by many people for reading…including me. I do still read on an EBR before going to sleep, but I would guess that at least 90% of my reading is done on my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (3rd Generation) (at AmazonSmile*) (now retired…today, I think)

I think that may be increasingly true for people. Let’s do it this way: we’ll go from the least expensive currently available new (or available for pre-order) directly from Amazon Fire tablet and go up from there. I will likely need to expand these descriptions in future posts…this will be a high-level listing, noting some key points:

NEW: Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*) $49.99
This is about half the previous lowest price. Lower quality screen, shorter battery charge life, mono (not stereo)…but a micro SD slot, cameras front and back, and Mayday (on-screen tech support…an amazing feature). Most people, certainly casual users, aren’t likely to notice an hour’s less battery charge life or fewer pixels. Serious gamers would. This will likely be a huge hit. They are also, interestingly, offering six for the price of five with a code: FIRE6PACK. That makes it really work for schools, large families, bookclubs, businesses. Yes, there are other cheap Android tablets out there…but people want Amazon, and Mayday is a big advantage.

press release

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black(at AmazonSmile*) $99.99
Twice the money and a smaller (although better) screen. It says it is going to get Mayday (which has been it’s drawback). Will it get the new Fire 5.0 with the other new features? It’s also a mono speaker, and with no micro SD slot. Not clear to me how long this one will stick around.

NEW VERSION: Fire Kids Edition, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99

press release: Introducing the All-New Fire Kids Edition—Built from the Ground Up for Kids, Now Under $100

NEW: Fire HD 8, 8″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*) starting at $149.99
I think this will be seen as the “normal” model (with the $49.99 being seen as the “cheap” model). It has the micro-SD card slot. It has the features of the $50 “Fire” (that’s it…like the call the least expensive EBR the “Kindle”), but all around ramped up hardware (better cameras, processor, screen)

NEW: Fire HD 10, 10.1″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*) starting at $229.99
The top of the line model…with a significantly bigger screen. It’s worth noting that the 8″ actually will have a sharper screen, since they have the same number of pixels…on a larger screen, that makes them less dense.

Press release for 8 and 10″ Fire HDs: Introducing the All-New Fire HD: Powerful Tablets Designed for Entertainment

Next up: the Fire TV 2, a special Fire TV gaming edition, and an updated Fire TV stick (for more money, but with a voice remote)…

I will definitely need to add to these descriptions (you can check the press releases or the product pages, but note that Alexa is coming…but apparently not for device control, just for conversation and information. If that’s correct, the Apple TV (which is more expensive than the non-gaming edition) might win that round. However, voice search is improving on the Fire TV, so we’ll see.

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) $49.99 with voice remote, $39.99 with standard remote

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99

Fire TV press release: Introducing the New Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote

Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition (at AmazonSmile*) $139.99

Fire TV gaming edition press release: Introducing the New Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition—Take Game Night to the Next Level

More on these developments later…


Let me and my readers  know what you think about the new hardware by commenting on this post. Some of my regular readers and commenters are particularly good at parsing these sorts of announcements, and we’ll all benefit from their analysis! 🙂

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

23 Responses to “Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2”

  1. Greg Chamberlin Says:

    I suppose its too much to hope that Fire OS 5.0 will play nice with Google apps such as Google Drive Google Docs, etc. Any ideas on this? I’m so embedded in the Google ecosystem having moved to a Chromebook and Chromebox for my computing that the Fire tablets seem to have a real limitation by not easily accessing and using the Google Drive and Apps.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Greg!

      I’m not confident you’ll get the apps, but I have no trouble accessing the services (Drive, Calendar) using Google Chrome and Maxthon on my Kindle Fire HDX.

      I think you can get them both at 1Mobile…

      • jjhitt Says:

        You can sideload the apps, but they wont run correctly. Been there and tried it. There are a lot of interdependencies, you need Google Play and most of their other apps. Very easy to not get it right.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        I don’t use the apps, but I can use Google Drive and Google Calendar (using Chrome, for example). That doesn’t give me all the features, of the app, though…

  2. Robert Anderson Says:

    The low DPI for the screen is a concern, wonder how it will look.

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    I don’t find the new tablets at all compelling, these are basically last year’s HD6, poured into different form factors (plus SD storage). It is kind of disappointing, though not unexpected.

    • Tom Semple Says:

      I’m looking forward to trying ‘Word Runner’, when the HD6 update adds this.

      Fire TV 2 should take some wind out of Apple TV’s sails (and sales..).

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        I’m excited to try that, too! I did the online Spritz demo…it worked for me. I’m not sure I’d use it for fiction, but for non-fiction? Sure.

        These conversational content streamers will likely habituate many people to having talking homes…there may be no going back.

        The Fire TV Stick…people may buy it primarily for Alexa ($50 for a child’s toy is not unheard of, and this could be that and more), and then be hooked on Prime.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Those form factors and cost points do matter for a lot of people, although understandably, they won’t impress a lot of people.

      I think Amazon is going to blow it out of the water with the $50 Fire. They’ve positioned it like Lay’s Potato Chips: nobody can eat just one. 😉 I think they’ll sell a lot of those six (for the price of five) packs. I can see that for families at the holidays, but even places like restaurants and healthcare organizations.

      The ten inch, with the $100 keyboard case, can go after the Microsoft Surface…

  4. jjhitt Says:

    I’m a little puzzled. I don’t see anything with more processor horsepower than my 2013 HDX.

    I’m very happy to see removable storage, that’s very long overdue. That has been number 2 on my wish list since the beginning. Number one on that list is EPUB support (even in the cloud conversion would be good enough).

  5. Karen Keil Says:

    What I don’t like about this new set of Fire offerings is the lack of 3G connections to AT&T and Verizon and other carriers for the new higher end tablets. Puzzling is the return to lower resolution after being spoiled with the higher resolution of the HDX 8.9 tablets.

    If I buy a 2015 Fire tablet, it might be the 8″ inch tablet with its somewhat sharper resolution, if even that, with its SD card slot. I’ll continue using my 3G/wifi 2012, 2013, and 2015 8.9 Fire tablets, taking extra care of them.

    I’m thinking instead is 1) buy the Voyage 2 ereader when it comes out, and 2) as a Nook user, save up to buy the latest new Samsung Nook 8″ tablet ($399.99) with its very high resolution, Super AMOLED screen and other cool features, including the SD card slot.

    • Karen Keil Says:

      Just read some more of the press release with information on the new features. I probably will need to see the 8″ and 10″ tablet in person first before making a judgment.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Karen!

        Sure, that makes sense. They should be in stores later…although how much you can experiment with it will vary. 😉

    • Tom Semple Says:

      Amazon is still selling the 8.9″ HDX models from 2014 (including configurations for AT&T and Verizon LTE) and some (both 7″ and 8.9″) from 2013.

      Given that they apparently have a lot of stock on hand, it does not make sense to come out with a new tablet to replace these (except maybe the HDX7, which lacks a rear-facing camera), when what people are mostly buying are cheaper tablets. The prices have come down slightly, and probably are competitive with Android tablets with similar specs.

      However if I’m not mistaken, all of these devices are now on the current version of Fire OS 4.x, and I’m guessing at least the 2014 8.9″ HDX will get an update to Fire OS v5 after the new HD’s ship, with the features that come with that (the HD6, unchanged from last year, will be getting this update). All of the HDX’s have much better specs than the new Fire HD tablets. If you have an 8.9″ HDX I would not even consider these new models.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        Quite right…while they last, I would guess.

        I think you are also right that older (most recent older) models should be able to get the 5.x Fire OS update…as you point out, it shouldn’t be an issue with specs (unlike the Kindle 1 and later versions).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karen!

      Interesting! I hadn’t noticed at first that they’d dropped the 3G option from this generation! I do always like people to have options, and certainly, people could pay for that one. That said, I think cellular has become less important generally. There’s a lot more wi-fi around…including tethering (loosely, people use a 3G/4G device to provide wi-fi to other devices) and travel routers.

      Hopefully, you can get a few more years out of the ones you own…nothing wrong in skipping a generation. 😉

      I’m guessing we’ll get EBR announcements pretty soon…

      • jjhitt Says:

        I’d been in the market for a new tablet and was holding out for the Amazon announcement. Sadly, I found the new offerings rather anemic. Instead, I ended up buying a Samsung tablet this weekend.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

        I did love my Samsung phone! If you need power, spending more another (than Amazon) brand may certainly make sense.

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