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What’s The Difference In Fire Tablets?

Monday, October 12th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Android, Hardware & Peripherals

In response to our article discussing the difference between a Kindle eReader and  a Kindle, Haley asked:  What’s the difference between Kindle Fire Tablet and the new Amazon Fire Kindle? Will the tablet be like an Android?

Not just like an Android Hayley, but actually an Android tablet. All of Amazon’s Fire Tablet line runs using the Android operating system.

But this a heavily-customized version of Android, built to meet Amazon’s needs and intended to make the tablet a media-consumption device for Amazon products. The homescreen of any Kindle Fire tablet is very different from the homescreen of a typical Android tablet.

The Android tablet will feature commonly your apps. If you want to read a book, you’ll open an eReader app. If you want to watch a movie, you open an app like Netflix. If you want to listen to music, you open Google Music or Spotify.


The homepage for a Fire tablet has always featured your most recently purchased or read eBooks, your recently watched movies and listened to music displayed on what’s called a “carousel.”   Recently played games are also front and center.


If you look across the top of a Fire Tablet, you would see quick access to books, video, music and apps. With the new line of tablets, the home screen looks a bit more like your typical Android tablet, though you do see the shortcuts to Books, Videos and Music across the top.


A Fire Tablet really needs the $99 per year Amazon Prime subscription to come alive. That gives you a huge library of videos to watch instantly, books that you can borrow for free and the prime music subscription service.

The difference between the recent additions to the Fire tablet line and the first and second gen Kindle Fires are features.  The differences in these features also means a price difference. You could pay $530 for a 8.9 inch HDX or a mere $50 for the basic Fire

If you spend the money for a high-end HDX tablet, you get a nicer screen, faster processor and services like the Mayday button. Press it, and you’ll get instant, live help with your tablet. Kindles are unique in that they offer two models, ad-supported and ad-free. If you go for the ad-supported model – which usually runs $30 to $50 less. In exchange for the discount, you’ll seen a ad for an Amazon product on your tablet lockscreen. The ads are targeted to match your purchases, so it will often be for an author or genre that you read, a band you listen to or a type of game you’ve played previously.


Amazon’s new less expensive line of  tablets starts with a $50 model, that for the first time allows Amazon users to add an SD card.


But with this model, you’re still limited to the products available from Amazon. If you buy a $50 non-Amazon tablet, you can add the Kindle app to read Amazon eBooks, but also add a Nook app and Google reader app t0 read books from wherever you want. Not so with this tablet. You’ll need to get all of your apps from the Amazon app store. So, even if your favorite game is in the Google Play store, it doesn’t mean it’s available for this tablet.  My big peeve with my HDX is that I can’t get Microsoft Office apps.

They’ve also added 8″ and 10″ versions of the Fire HD and an almost phone-sized Fire HD 6. The 8 and 10″ models do offer expandable storage.


The big differences with these most recent tablets are expandable storage and a lower price, for a slightly less powerful tablets.  I would still only suggest Fire tablets if you’re heavily into purchasing for Amazon or don’t mind depending on them for your music, book and video purchases. And I really think the $99 subscription is a must for fully enjoying the tablet. So factor that into the price as well.

~ Cynthia

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