Amazon has issued a significant upgrade this week to its flagship tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, boasting some of the fastest internal components of any device on the market.
Coming on November 6th for $399 CDN for the 16GB and $449 for the 32GB model, this year’s HDX features the same zero-gap 2560×1440 pixel IPS display, stereo speakers, ultra-fast wireless and 8MP rear camera, but the processor has been boosted to a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC, along with 2GB of RAM.
While the processor has been upgraded, almost every other tenet of the tablet’s insides remains the same. One aspect that has seen some love is the surround sound algorithm, dubbed Dolby Atmos, which purports to create a truly wide sound stage from tiny tablet stereo speakers or, preferably, through a nice pair of headphones.
Amazon has also taken the year to upgrade its Fire OS to version 4, which is now running on the backbone of Android 4.4 KitKat.
As with most Canadian-sold Amazon products, users won’t reap the full benefits of the company’s cloud ecosystem — not by a long shot.
Amazon added a host of useful and valuable features in Fire OS 4. Firefly, for example, makes it possible to scan things, from bar codes to movies, to instantly buy said thing on Amazon. Can Canadians use it? Nope.
Family Library allows up two people — you and a spouse, for instance — to share content between two Amazon accounts, even across Android and iOS. Can Canadians take advantage of this? Of course not.
Amazon Prime Instant Video? Nope. Music? Nah. Kindle Lending Library? Don’t be silly. Prime Music? Mayday? Integration with Fire TV? Kindle Unlimited? Magazines? MatchBook?
But, hey, things aren’t all that bad. This year’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 offers an Origami case that’s 20% lighter and thinner than last year’s. And, of course, the Kindle book store and Amazon app store are preloaded on the device, and Cloud Drive can store documents and photos (though Canadians only get 5GB for free, whereas Americans get unlimited storage). Add to that an improved Silk web browser (now with Private Mode!), up to six family member profiles per device, and a preloaded version of WPS Office, and you’re set.
The older Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, as well as last year’s Kindle Fire HDX 7, will be updated to Fire OS 4 when it becomes available.