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Kindle Fire HD announced for UK launch

Seth Barton
6 Sep 2012
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Kindle's Android-based tablet is finally coming over here

[UPDATE] - Amazon has now sent out a press release confirming the dates and prices in this article. It's also now live on the Amazon UK site - Kindle Fire HD.

Kindle has announced an updated range of its Kindle Fire tablets. Previously these were only available in the US, but some of the new models will, according to BBC News, be available in the UK from the 25th of October.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced two entirely new devices, the 8.9in Kindle Fire HD and the 7in Kindle Fire HD - though only the smaller device is currently scheduled for a UK release. That will put it head-to-head with the Google Nexus 7 (also a 7in Android device) this Christmas as the must-have gadget.

Bezos also announced an updated version of the original Kindle Fire, again available in the UK. However, if the BBC is to be believed then prices of £129 for the Fire and £159 for the Fire HD, will make the former a poor choice - it's heavier, fatter, has less memory and a lower-resolution screen.

The Kindle Fire HD 7in comes with 16GB of memory, that's twice that of the similarly-priced Nexus 7 (a 32GB option will also be available for £199). It uses a capable-looking, dual-core TI OMAP4460 chipset running at 1.2GHz. We doubt it will be quite as fast as the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 in the Google Nexus 7, but the differences shouldn't be that noticeable.

Kindle Fire HD

The new Kindle's display sounds impressive

It has a 1,280x800 display, which is confirmed to be a high-quality IPS panel. Amazon is using a panel where the LCD segment and touch segments are bonded together to give better image quality - rather than having an air gap. This sounds identical to the OptiContrast technology that Sony was trumpeting for its Sony Xperia Tablet S last week.

It has another feature in common with the Sony tablet, limited guest accounts for kids - called Kindle Freetime. Here you can limit not only what apps they have access to, but also set time limits on usage. Unlike the Tablet S, the Fire isn't splashproof though, so complete peace-of-mind isn't quite there.

Other intriguing features include dual Wi-Fi antennas for support of the 802.11n 5GHz band, the first tablet to do so. The claimed eleven hours battery time is similar to the Nexus 7.

On paper the Kindle Fire HD looks to be edging ahead of its Google-branded rival. There's enough nice-looking extras here to make this a huge threat to Google's tablet - which was released to a rave reception in July.

However, one thing Amazon didn't discuss was what version of Android is sitting beneath Amazon's highly-customised user interface. We're pretty certain it won't be built on top of the super-slick Android 4.1, though, which may give the Nexus 7 a clear advantage there.

The larger and more powerful 8.9in Fire HD will be released in the US on the 20th of November. Given Amazon's unpredictable record in launching its device in Europe, it's impossible to predict when we may see it over here.

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