Amazon lights a Fire with new Kindle tablet range and major HDX 8.9 update

Fire HDX
That 'X' stands for extra graphics power

Amazon isn't about taking customers on a Voyage these days; it also wants to light a little Fire, too.

The company has outed a trio of Fire tablets, namely a new Fire HD, refreshed Fire HDX and, yes, a Fire tablet for kids.

Let's start from the beginning; the new Fire HD is available in 6- and 7-inch flavors and five different color options, with the smaller version starting at sub-$100 or less than £80. It's HD display packs a whopping 1 million-plus pixels and its 1.5GHz quad-core processor helps tasks hum along.

There's a front and rear camera and Dolby Digital Plus Audio, a feature that should help Amazon's library of 33 million movies, TV shows, books and more pop.

Available in 8GB or 16GB configurations, the battery life is pegged at up to eight hours. It also runs Amazon's latest Fire OS 4, a.k.a. Sangria, which is built off Android KitKat. Wine and chocolate? Tasty.

The 6-inch version starts at $99 (US$125 in Australia with shipping) or £79 for 8GB while the 7-inch version costs $139 or £99 (AU$166). You can pre-order either size now, but their official release won't be until October 2.

Fire to the X(treme)

Amazon's larger slate, the Fire HDX 8.9, is getting a sizeable upgrade, namely on the inside.

Users will find a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 8084 chip, Adreno 420 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The graphics engine, by the way, is said to be 70% faster than before.

The tablet also features Dolby Atmos, a first for a tablet, and Dolby Audio for booming sound that Amazon claims is twice as loud as the iPad Air. For another iPad Air jab, Amazon says its 8.9-inch tablet is 20% lighter than Apple's model.

The Fire HDX is also drinking up Sangria as well as the Amazon Fire Phone's data and product scanning feature, Firefly.

The Fire HDX 8.9 is up for pre-order now starting at $379 or £329 with a 4G version available for $479 (£439). There's no news on Australian price or availability just yet.

One for Junior

Finally, just in the US for now, Amazon is introducing a tablet for kids called Fire HD Kids Edition. Inventive, we know.

Fire HD Kids Edition

Playtime with your tablet

Front-and-center among the tablet's features is a 2-year guarantee that Amazon will replace it, "no questions asked," during that period. A play for uncertain parents, to be sure.

Another thing mom and dad should like is the year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that brings kid-centric content to the tablet.

The tablet is basically the same as the Fire HD in terms of specs, even down to the size options, except for the kid-proof protective case.

The Fire HD Kids Edition starts at $149 for a 6-inch and $189 for a 7-inch.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.