It’s that time of year: light peacoats, withering leaves, the crisp autumn air — oh and of course, new gizmos! This week, new-and-improved tablets were unveiled by Amazon and Microsoft. Gadget junkies found the technology from the former to be riveting. The latter? Not so much.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, gushed about the Amazon Kindle HDX which will be released in both 7-inch ($229) and 8.9-inch models ($379). The new tablets are touted to be thinner, sharper, and more colorful than its predecessors, ZDNet said. The difference between the two, besides dimension and cost, are the camera features: The “7-inch model lacks a rear camera [and] the 8.9-inch version comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash,” the site says.
The HDX tablets will be less costly than last year’s HD release. This time, Amazon will rely on gaining profit based on when people use the devices, not when people buy the devices. As Time explains, HDX tablets are premium products sold with non-premium prices so that consumers will spend on content for the devices.
Let’s get into the features behind the Kindle Fire HDX:
-Operating System: Fire OS 3.0; based on Android 4.3 and built by Amazon developers
-Speed: On a Snapdragon 800 2.2Ghz processor, it’s three times faster than its predecessors; for graphic functions, it’s four times faster.
-Memory: Doubled to 2GB of RAM
-Battery Life: 11 hours, 10 more hours than previous generation. On a new power-efficient mode, reading e-books can last up to 17 hours.
-Visibility: More lamination on the display for a better view at all angles. A new “real time” light sensor adjusts the screen based on current lighting conditions (outdoor or indoor)
-Customer Service: A new feature on the HDX, called “Mayday”, gives users access to a live 24/7 customer service rep in a small video window. “The helpers can explain new features or troubleshoot problems while guiding users with on-screen hand scribbles. They can even take control of the device from afar,” Fox News said.
-X-Ray Feature: If you are watching something on your HDX tablet, you can redirect it to your TV screen if you own a Samsung TV or Playstation 3/4. Also, if you’d like to know the name of a song playing on your TV, the X-Ray feature will determine this and even give the user the option of purchasing the song.
With its super-high resolution, critics are warning Apple that Amazon’s Kindle HDX might be the product to watch out for. If you’re still not convinced by the two HDXs, Amazon is also releasing a third tablet, a 7″ Kindle Fire HD with a rock bottom price of $139.
Now in constrast, the buzz surrounding Microsoft’s Surface 2 ($449) and Surface Pro 2 ($899) has been less than enthusiastic. Some critics even wonder if Microsoft is even trying at all: “Microsoft seems to have given up on competing with other tablets. It now sees itself as competing with PCs,” says Slate, adding that, with their focus on professional uses, these tablets are only for consumers who “hate fun.”
New features include “a redesigned integrated kickstand” which offers two angles: one for use on your lap and the other for use on a desk. Microsoft is also offering “200 gigabytes of SkyDrive storage for two years, and a year of Skype service that includes international calling,” according to TechCrunch.
Surface 2 doesn’t include a pen that can be used for PowerPoint presentations and PDF files. Also, the Surface Pro 2, the more business-y of the two, is considered more of a full-powered PC. It also comes in a full-powered PC price of $900.
The only unique feature within Microsoft’s tablets is embedded in the Surface 2: Microsoft claims you can run four Microsoft Office apps on one side of the screen while playing XBOX on the other side, according to Slate.
Which would you purchase?
[h/t NBC News]