The slim-bezeled Android seems to come much closer to a stock software experience than all its predecessors, but unfortunately, the specs are nothing to write home about.
Amazon is understandably reluctant to take another chance on a Fire Phone after the first-gen’s monumental box-office missteps, and while the company’s hardware department faces general cutbacks, its tablet family will continue to spawn new low-cost iPad contenders, at least this holiday season.
Rumor has it last year’s Fire HD 6 is set to push the $99 price further down for a diluted 2015 edition, whereas the HD 7 and HDX 8.9 may get replaced by slightly larger 8 and 10-inch models. The size increase doesn’t automatically spell under-the-hood upgrades, at least if we take a GFX Bench listing of a mystery Amazon “KFTBWI” device for granted.
The benchmarked pre-release prototype apparently sports a 1,280 x 800 pixels resolution 10-inch screen, considerably down from the ppi delivered by the 2014 2,560 x 1,600 Fire HDX 8.9. Namely, just 150 pixels per inch, compared to 339.
The good news is Amazon already has an Android 5.1 Lollipop fork in the pipeline, it seems, but the bad doesn’t stop at the low-res display, with 1 GB RAM provided in lieu of 2, a middling quad-core 1.5 GHz MediaTek MT8135 SoC taking over for the 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 silicon, and 5 MP rear camera in the mix, instead of 8 megapixels.
Internal storage space hopefully starts at 16 GB if microSD support is once again left out, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth covering merely the connectivity bases, as NFC and 3G or 4G LTE are seemingly missing.
On the bright side, a revealing press render tweeted by the all-knowing @evleaks (all hail Evan Blass) suggests the Seattle-based e-tail specialist will keep the proprietary Android modifications to a minimum for a change.
Well, we wouldn’t call the pictured UI stock or vanilla, far from it, but purists can look at it without risking a seizure. Also, the tab’s exterior design is clean and minimalistic, almost somber, with absolutely no bells and whistles, tiny camera modules, and a straightforward rear Amazon emblem. Interesting approach in an age of flamboyance and sophistication, don’t you think?