Amazon launches Fire OS 3.0 'Mojito' with new Kindle Fire tablets
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is rolling out a revamped version of its Android-based Fire mobile operating system in tandem with new editions of its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets.
Amazon boasts enhanced enterprise and productivity features in its new Fire OS 3.0.
Amazon also will now offer 4G services from Verizon Wireless on its new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets. Amazon previously only offered cellular services from AT&T Mobility. Amazon said users will be able to choose service between AT&T or Verizon when purchasing their device, and can then sign up for a service plan on their device. AT&T and Verizon each touted their shared data plans for the new Amazon Kindle Fires.
Amazon's new Fire OS 3.0, nicknamed "Mojito," introduces low-level platform enhancements including the new Optimizing Download Manager, which enables parallel content downloads and adjusts the number of simultaneous installs per device, guaranteeing that foreground app performance is unaffected by background download activity. In addition, Optimizing Download Manager automatically pauses ongoing downloads when the user streams Amazon Instant Video content to maximize video quality. Customers also may prioritize individual items to download first, enjoying videos, audiobooks or magazines while the download is still ongoing.
Fire 3.0 also touts a new Graphics Direct Texture in place of the standard Android graphics pipeline. The graphics system is customized to quickly load large graphical assets like high-resolution cover art. Improved touch responsiveness dynamically increases the CPU speed after the customer removes their finger from the tablet screen to minimize touch latency in games and apps, while an enhanced Reading Mode supports up to 17 hours of battery life, automatically powering down unnecessary system components and storing the text via dedicated, low-power memory.
Mojito additionally brings integration with the Goodreads social platform, giving users insight into what their friends are reading and allowing them to share reviews and quotes. A new Second Screen option lets customers fling content from their Fire device to their television, freeing up the tablet for email, web browsing, gaming or following scene-by-scene via Amazon's X-Ray for Movies and TV, which includes actor biographies, behind-the-scenes trivia and soundtrack information directly tied to the film or program the user is currently watching.
Also new: Enterprise and productivity features like enhanced email making it easier to set up accounts and group conversations, wireless printer support and software data encryption. Users may now connect their Kindle Fire to secure enterprise Wi-Fi networks and access corporate apps, documents and resources like SharePoint; Kindle-specific device management APIs also integrate with mobile device management systems including Amazon's own Whispercast service as well as third-party vendors like AirWatch, Citrix, Fiberlink, Good Technology and SOTI. Fire OS 3.0 additionally supports Kerberos authentication.
The Kindle Fire HD, priced at $139, includes a high-definition display with 1280x800 resolution and 216 pixels per inch--66 percent more pixels than the previous generation tablet. The Kindle Fire HDX is priced at $229 for the 7-inch version and at $379 for the 8.9-inch version; both models are also available in 4G-enabled editions, priced at $329 and $479, respectively. The 7-inch HDX boasts 323 pixels per inch and the 8.9-inch model delivers 339 pixels per inch; both feature 100 percent sRGB color accuracy, reduced glare, dynamic image contrast and improved brightness to boost viewing in any lighting conditions. The Kindle Fire HDX also integrates Amazon's new Mayday Button, which promises free, on-device tech support available 24/7/365 with response times of less than 15 seconds.
In an interview with The Verge to discuss the new tablets, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declined to answer questions about whether Amazon would eventually build smartphones in addition to tablets. Rumors have swirled for years that Amazon could release a smartphone.
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