Amazon announced a trio of new Android tablets this morning with great specs, decent prices, and a brand-new version of Android.
The 2013 KFHD and the new Kindle Fire HDX are running Amazon's brand new Fire OS 3.0 (Mojito). This new version of Android has some serious improvements over what's running on last year's tablets, including:
- Low-level platform enhancements, including: the Optimizing Download Manager, re-designed graphics pipeline, Reading Mode, and improvements to touch latency for better performance.
- Productivity apps with enhanced email, documents, and enterprise support with hardware and software data encryption.
- Deep integration of the hardware, software and services to deliver features like X-Ray, the Mayday button, Second Screen, and more.
- Built-in media libraries for instant access to music, movies, apps, and games both stored on the device or in the cloud, and automatically syncs between them.
- Content-first user interface with both Carousel and Grid views.
Amazon is also promising in a separate press release that the tablets are enterprise-ready. Mojito features an integrated printer driver, office suite, a VPN client, and improved encryption and security in both the Silk browser and in the Wifi network drivers. Amazon is also promising that the new Kindle Fire HDX will feature secure hardware data encryption, adding yet another level of protection for your trade secrets and/or fruit Ninja scores.
And Amazon is also stepping up their game in the streaming media dept. Mojito is going to allow Amazon Prime members to download Instant Videos and store them offline for up to 30 days:
Once they start watching a particular title, they’ll have 48 hours to finish.
That’s a feature no other U.S. subscription-streaming service currently offers. And it might prove very handy for travelers, or anyone else who wants to watch something on a laptop or tablet but doesn’t have access to good broadband.
Amazon says it would like to make the feature available for all of its Prime Instant shows and movies. But, for now, it’s only going to be available on a subset of its titles, because the company has to haggle with rights owners to get the extra feature.
Amazon won’t spell out how many of its titles will be available for download, but says the feature will apply to “tens of thousands” of movies and shows. In June, the company said Prime Instant had more than 41,000 titles, which suggests that it may be available on at least half of Amazon’s catalog.
And that's not all. According to the press release Mojito features a new suite of accessibility tools including Screen Reader, Explore by Touch and Screen Magnifier enable access to the vast majority of Fire OS features.
What's more, it is keeping the existing text-to-speech features found on the current KFHD. It features natural-sounding IVONA voices for the following languages: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French Canadian, and US, British, and Australian English. Mojito also supports standard Android Text-to-Speech APIs, so developers can take advantage of IVONA voices for third-party apps.
Some of these features won't be coming until the Mojito 3.1 update in November, but I think they could be worth the wait.
Tell me, did you catch the bullet point about making the carousel view optional? If that doesn't interest you, check out the point about productivity apps. That is arguably a sign that Amazon now views their tablets as more than just media consumption devices.
My biggest gripe about my current KFHD is that it is terrible for any use other than as a media tablet. it frankly isn't very good at basic activities like email and rss feeds, so I often had to carry around a second Android device just to get work done while on the go.
Based on the changes Amazon made to the new Mojito OS I would say that I am probably not the only one to feel that way.