Amazon Releases Four Refreshed Fire Tablets And Two Kindle E-Readers

As the run-up to the annual holiday shopping season gets ever closer, major companies are unveiling their newest wares and putting them on sale just in time. Amazon's in that bunch as well, sprucing up its tablet line, revising its Android-based Fire OS, and even introducing a fancy new Kindle for those who'd prefer to stick to the basics of reading in outdoor light.

Perhaps the most notable addition is the new Fire HD tablet, which is available in a 6" form factor for the first time. That one's shipping for just $99, which places Amazon in competition with a slew of other lower-end makers who have been hawking substandard slates for some time. The Fire HD also ships in a 7" version with five different exterior hues, an HD display, quad-core processor, front/rear cameras, and Fire OS 4 "Sangria."

Amazon Fire HD Tablets

The high-end Fire HDX is receiving a modest spec bump, while the Fire HD Kids Edition is built so tough that it's guaranteed not to break for two whole years. Of course, you wouldn't want to tell your rambunctious children that. As for Fire OS 4? It's based on Android KitKat and includes ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) which predicts the movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and starts them instantly, and Smart Suspend develops a device-specific profile for when the tablet is typically not in use and proactively turns wireless off and on to deliver up to 25% more standby battery life.

Amazon Fire Tablet Line-Up

Finally, there are two new Kindles. The $79 Kindle promises "weeks" of battery life, a 20% faster CPU, double the storage, and the addition of a touch interface. On the opposite end, there's the flagship Kindle Voyage, which starts at $199 and is said to be Amazon's "thinnest, most advanced Kindle ever, with our brightest, highest resolution, and highest contrast display." Tough to say if folks will pay more for a Kindle than a tablet, but Amazon sure has a lot of buyer data that probably supports its gesture.