TAG | amazon
Why buy something when you could rent it, have it instantly delivered when you need it, and taken away when you’re done? While Amazon’s unveiling of its Prime Air drone-powered delivery service could make buying easier, it’s drone pick-up that could make it so we don’t need to buy things at all.
The sharing economy holds the promise of a more efficient, collaborative way of living. Startups like Airbnb and GetAround are thriving by making use of our empty apartments and parked cars. It’s proving feasible for humans to share housing and transportation, but we haven’t quite figured out the sharing of most objects. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is delivery and pickup.
A few startups like Neighborgoods have tried and failed to let you rent things from other normal people. Need a stud finder or hot glue gun? Don’t buy one and rarely use it. Instead, search in your town for someone who has what you need and rent it. Problem is, who wants to drive across town and back twice to scoop up a rental and drop it off when they’re done? Factor in the travel time plus gas and it might be easier/cheaper to just buy the object.
Unlocking The Sharing Economy Of Things
Amazon last night showed off its experimental Amazon Prime Air unmanned aerial vehicles that could one day deliver what you buy from its e-commerce site. The hope is that within five years, Amazon Prime Air’s autonomous drones could deliver items weighing up to 5 pounds (84 percent of what Amazon ships) within 30 minutes to the right locations.
Caveats abound. As Quartz notes, it could be a long-time, perhaps 2020, until the FAA determines drone delivery is safe enough and the red tape is navigated to permit it. The Hill reports that lawmakers want better drone privacy rules. Even then, the Washington Post explains that drones might need human pilots that could kill their cost-effectiveness for deliveries/pick-ups.
Sure, there’s plenty to poo-poo. But it’s hard not to imagine that robots will eventually alter the landscape of how goods move about.
While he’s normally focused on filesharing and identity, Facebook Director Of Product Management Sam Lessin has been thinking for a while (and even did a Tedx talk) about how robots will enable the “end of ownership.” He believes Uber, Google’s self-driving cars, and Amazon Prime Air are all pushing us in the same direction – a world where we buy less and share or rent more.
This morning Lessin wrote that Amazon Prime Air “is actually all about the backhaul. It will be cool when drones can deliver something to you in 30 min… it will be much much cooler when the drone can pick it back up when you are done with it. Drones (and self driving cars) are the key to the ‘sharing’ economy.”
He’s right. Today, the most convenient way to have access to something you want is to own it and keep it where you live. That’s because the process of having something delivered is too costly, cumbersome, and slow to do every time you need it.
Luckily we’re seeing delivery times get shorter at a dizzying pace. Until recently, a few days to a few weeks was the quickest you could get something brought to your door. Then Amazon’s shipping empire enabled affordable and reliable two-day and next-day delivery. Now there’s a slew of companies, including Walmart, Google and eBay, vying to offer same-day delivery where you order something in the morning and get it by night.
Still, people don’t want things soon. They want them NOW. A 30-minute Amazon Prime Air is the closest approximation of “now” we’ve seen yet. It’s one reason Amazon’s little drone video is a viral hit today (a savvy way to show Amazon is an innovative company to love or work for, as well as keep the e-commerce service top of mind on Cyber Monday).
Yet the greatest impact of robotic delivery might not be owning things quicker, but rather not having to own them in the first place. That’s because once you can have something approximately now, the functional difference between ownership and rental disappears.
What if rather than buying with Amazon Prime Air, you rented? Jeff Bezos’ drones could pick up your item when you’re done with it and bring it back to the warehouse, or even directly to another customer.
Imagine if this means that, rather than buying something for $100, you might only use once or twice, you could rent it for $25 each time you needed it. You could save money with minimal additional inconvenience. You’d already have to wait for the initial delivery if you bought it, so the only price you pay for your discount is the 30-minute wait times on subsequent deliveries.
Perhaps drones aren’t the answer. Maybe we’ll 3D print what we currently. And there will always be things too big to be conveniently shlepped around. But eventually, I’d bet it won’t be humans delivering the pizzas, tools, electronics, clothes, and many other things we buy or borrow today.
If the shift is heralded by centralized companies like Amazon, we might see trucks full of drones deployed to more remote areas. The drones could fan out to do their deliveries and pickups, and return to the truck to be brought back to the warehouse.
The end of ownership could also be fueled by a decentralized peer-to-peer model. Maybe you buy things you use relatively frequently, but keep them in a storage unit just outside of town and rent them out via drones when you don’t need them. That means your house or apartment could be smaller because you’d have fewer unused things to store.
Either way, as Lessin wrote on Quora earlier this year, storage/shipping/drone launch pad real estate near big cities could become more valuable to Amazon and everyone. And while there are plenty of issues with airborne drones, similar value could be offered by road-based self-driving cars. Google and Uber could one day team up to start carry objects instead of just people.
Though it could take decades, the repercussions of this shift away from ownership are numerous.
We might buy less stuff and all objects would spend more of their existence being used rather than in a closet, so we wouldn’t have to manufacture as many copies of things. That could put lots of people out of work. No, there aren’t enough drone repairman jobs to make up for all those lost on the assembly line and delivery chain.
On the brighter side, what happens to the savings we score from rental over ownership? Sure, we might pocket it. But we could also rent higher-quality versions of the cheap things we would have bought, or rent things we never would have gotten to use at all.
Perhaps most exciting of all is what the transition from owning to sharing could mean for our psyches. Maybe a rental economy wasn’t what the Buddha intended when he said we must cast off material possessions to achieve nirvana. But the sharing economy could make status less about the things we own, and more about what we do with them.
Oh, Amazon. You’re silly. But also very right.
In Amazon’s latest assault on the gadget establishment, the Kindle HDK 8.9 takes on the iPad Air, correctly pointing out that Amazon’s offering has a better screen and is lighter than its Apple counterpart. Plus, the Kindle HDX 8.9 is cheaper.
With this advert, Amazon joins Microsoft in selling their wares directly against Apple’s. This commercial, like some of the Windows tablet tv spots, is rather blunt, right down to a mocking tone of the voice-over narrator. But, arguably, unlike the Microsoft attacks, Amazon’s selling points are valid and worth considering for some buyers.
The Kindle HDX 8.9 is a worthy competitor against the iPad. The screen is more dense and generally higher quality. The HDX is lighter and cheaper. For a good chunk of buyers, as in, those looking to watch YouTube videos, play some older games, and shop Amazon, the HDX is a great option. The only thing the HDX lacks is access to Apple’s iCloud ecosystem that brilliantly syncs commonly used communication and productivity tools across Apple computers and mobile devices.
Amazon has steadily grown into a legitimate consumer electronic company. From humble starts with the original Kindle, the retail giant knows how to start small and scale into a major player. Is the Kindle HDX better than the iPad? Not really, but the gap is quickly closing. Plus, drones.
Let’s ignore, for a moment, all of the obvious problems with a drone-based Amazon Prime delivery system. Let’s ignore the fact that you can get free stuff if you’re a good shot with a rifle and let’s ignore the fact that a 10 mile range isn’t much when it comes to underserved rural areas and is a jungle of potential snags and snares in urban, populated areas. Let’s ignore the fact that unless you’re having Amazon deliver something to your secluded place on Martha’s Vineyard, having a robot drop paperback books on your house sounds like a mess.
Let’s ignore the possibility that a drone falls on a person and gives him or her an Amazon Prime haircut – or worse. Let’s assume, for a moment, that the FAA allows Bezos to pull this off. Let’s figure out how and where Amazon can pull this off.
First, we know that Amazon has the manpower. They have a team of customer service experts on call 24/7 waiting for you to click the Mayday button on your Kindle Fire HDX. Bezos told me himself that they ramped up this massive operation in a few weeks and the customer service reps didn’t even know what they were preparing for until launch. Amazon can throw people a problem in a second.
Next we have companies like Airware that are building smart systems for unmanned drones. Presumably every Prime drone has to be completely manned and include some sort of emergency return system, but a human brain supplemented with a robot brain means a far smoother ride. Add in a simple robotic eye like Centeye and you’re basically as accurate as a Predator drone, albeit one loaded with copies of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and not Hellfire missiles.
Finally, we know that Amazon has a plenty of last-mile problems and wants to expand. This is the ultimate solution for those. This addresses the “where” of the question. Clearly Amazon isn’t going to fly these things in Manhattan. Instead, they will open brand new markets for the retail giant.
A truck can pull into a rural hamlet and send out five or six drones in a few hours. They can spread out, like so many reverse honey bees, depositing their payloads and returning to the nest. It saves Amazon millions on shipping, it opens up new markets, and it improves their perception in the areas where delivery saturation is low. I can get Amazon stuff delivered overnight in Brooklyn but in some cases that’s far harder than Amazon would like. These drones are the ultimate in cost savings.
We’ve got to hand it to Bezos. This isn’t anything new – remember the Tacocopter? – but that Bezos is behind it catapults it well into the realm of possibility. Drones, as a tool, are very powerful and very smart. Amazon, as a company, is even more powerful and even smarter. It’s a match made in (dare I say it?) lower altitudes.
Jeff Bezos revealed something that truly would revolutionize ecommerce and online ordering, should it become widely used: automated air delivery drones that could deliver 86 percent of the goods Amazon ships to customers today (packages under 5 pounds), in less than 30 minutes in many cases. That would be a huge change to business as currently conducted by the Amazon giant, and it would mean the end of retail as we know it.
I’ve had the pleasure (read: horrendous displeasure) recently of having moved house, which as just about anyone knows, is one of the most massively inconvenient things you can do. This was made trickier because it was partially intercontinental, and I’d need a lot of new stuff at the new place including basics like a bed and a kitchen table. What was different this time, compared to when I’ve moved before with very little in the way of personal belongings, was that Amazon was the answer to many problems I’d previously had about how to get a lot of stuff to a new place in a densely populated urban location very quickly.
An automated fleet of Amazon delivery drones makes that even more painless, and greatly simplifies the process of stocking a new place with everyday items like cleaning products, toiletries and all the other random minutiae you forget about when you’re thinking about the big things like couches, TVs and kitchen appliances. And in theory, based on what Bezos revealed tonight, you could even get some of that stuff, like toaster and kettles, winged to you on robot winds, too.
Would this really be “revolutionary?” Already, you can get much of this stuff delivered to you by a good old fashioned human, usually within a day or two depending on your area and whether you’re willing to spring for Amazon Prime or expedited shipping. But in the world of home delivery and retail, the difference between getting something within 30 minutes and within a couple of days is not insignificant; in fact, it’s massive.
When I do still shop retail instead of Amazon, the only real reason that I do so is because I need (or think I need) the item immediately. Amazon’s pricing is better in almost every case, and there’s not worry about whether something is in stock or not, and there’s no compromising about models or the type of item you’re after. If Amazon can promise all of that, combined with a delivery system that essentially beats a round trip journey by car to the nearest Walmart, then consider it bye-bye brick-and-mortar for me, and I suspect, for a considerable portion of the population, too.
Of course, there’s a mountain of regulatory red tape to wade through before Bezos and Amazon can fly knick knacks to you with remote-controlled octocopters, so traditional retail has some time to figure out how to respond to this new challenge. But heck, maybe teleporter tech will move even quicker and the Bezos Beam will provide instant gratification for all our petty consumer desires before we manage drone delivery.
For better or worse the holidays are right around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: consumer electronics companies are slaving away on new hardware designs and trying to get those final products onto shelves in time for an annual feeding frenzy.
Barnes & Noble is no different. Well, it’s a little different – when I sat down with Digital Content EVP Doug Carlson earlier today he was eager to paint a picture of a savvy bookseller that’s still aware of the human elements of peddling tomes (digital and otherwise). But it wasn’t long at all before he got down to the business at hand and revealed the $119 Nook GlowLight, a new e-reader the company will start selling today.
The news will come as little surprise to BN fans considering the company tellingly dropped the price of its previous GlowLight model back in August in a bid to clear out its supply channels ahead of today’s announcement.
I got the chance to play with the Nook GlowLight for bit, and – speaking as a Kindle devotee since the early days – it’s a surprisingly compelling little package. The first thing you’ll notice about it is just how light the thing is: at 6.2 ounces, it’s almost like you’re holding nothing at all. My e-reader of choice (and constant literary companion) has been Amazon’s first generation Kindle Paperwhite, and it’s considerably weightier than the device BN managed to put together.
The tablet category is continuing to eat the PC’s lunch, albeit it’s a large lunch so the feast is taking a while. Analyst Gartner expects worldwide tablet shipments to grow 42.7% this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units. And while traditional PCs are still shipping a lot more units (303,100 forecast for this year), those shipments are continuing to decline — predicted to be down 11.2% on 2012 shipments.
That’s lower even than Gartner’s prior forecast, back in April, when it said it expected PCs to decline 7.3% this year.
Growth in the so-called ultramobile category — aka lightweight laptops and portables running a full desktop OS such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet – is offsetting the traditional PC decline somewhat. But even adding in that category, overall PCs plus ultramobiles are forecast to decline 8.4% this year. Gartner previously said it expects tablets to be outshipping desktop computers and ultramobiles combined by 2017.
By 2014, it now expects the gap between traditional PCs and tablet shipments to have narrowed to just over 18,000 more PCs than tablets shipped, although it expects ultramobiles to have grown to close to 40,000 units shipped by then (up from around 18,600 this year).
Growth in the ultramobile category will be down to serving users that need to “balance work and play” considerations in a single device, said Gartner — thereby allowing hybrid ultramobiles to step in and offer the functionality of a PC in the form factor of a tablet.
Turning to tablets proper, smaller and cheaper is the order of the day — with consumers’ preference for the 7-inch form factor causing continued price decline in premium tablets. The raft of cheaper priced tablet hardware — from the likes of Amazon with its Kindle Fire line and Google with its Nexus-branded slates — is clearly helping to underpin overall tablet growth, taking share away from Apple’s more expensive iPad line.
Smaller tablets are also going to put a dent in the smartphone’s holiday appeal, according to Gartner. ”Continuing on the trend we saw last year, we expect this holiday season to be all about smaller tablets as even the long-term holiday favourite — the smartphone — loses its appeal,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.
More generally, while the mobile phone market is expected to continue to experience steady growth, Gartner is calling time on the “opportunity for high average selling price (ASP) smartphones”. It expects growth in the mobile segment to be powered by mid-tier smartphones in mature markets, and low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets. So again, cheap devices are winning out. The wider point there is that many developed markets are saturated — pushing smartphone growth to emerging countries where lower ASP devices are required.
Gartner’s forecast for worldwide device shipments by operating system this year and next (rounded up percentage marketshares below) shows Android continuing to build out its empire — helped by growth in cheaper tablets and smartphones. Android will be approaching a half-market share across all the device types by 2014, while Windows/Windows Phone and iOS/Mac OS manage only marginal growth:
- Android 38%
- Windows 14%
- iOS/Mac OS 12%
- RIM 1 %
- Others 35%
- Android 45%
- Windows 15%
- iOS/Mac OS 14%
- RIM 0.8%
- Others 26%
On the wearables front, Gartner expects the market opportunity to remain primarily about companion devices that are used in conjunction with mobile phones, rather than replacing them. Gartner predicts that less than 1% of consumers will replace their mobile phones with a combination of a wearable device and a tablet by 2017.
“In the short term, we expect consumers to look at wearables as nice to have rather than a ‘must have’, leaving smartphones to play the role of our faithful companion throughout the day,” added Milanesi. ”For wearables to be successful, they need to add to the user experience by complementing and enhancing what other devices already offer. They also need to be stylish yet practical, and most of all hit the right price.”
That’s right. It’s Gadgets Podcast time once again, and all I can say is TGIF.
Here are some of our topics this week:
Who’s already upgraded to Windows 8.1? John had no trouble with it but Matt seems to be lost.
Meanwhile, we’ve been testing out the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, and we all pretty much agree that it’s a fine media-centric tablet and a perfect gift for a mother-in-law.
And finally, we discuss the newest trend in smartphones: a curved display. (Here’s Nokia’s concept for a bending display smartphone, which is many years away from commercialization, and also completely different from the curved displays we’re seeing out of Samsung and LG).
Oh, and we’ll be launching our holiday gift guide in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that.
Intro Music by Rick Barr.
I have something to get off my chest: I live in New Jersey, so by definition that makes me a “Jersey driver”. I’ve never thought of myself as the sort of manically aggressive road warrior that befits the stereotype (and I’d argue that Pennsylvania drivers are way worse), but Y Combinator-backed Automatic’s Link dongle begs to differ. It’s been plugged into my car for the better part of two weeks now, dutifully tracking all my hard stops, all my hasty starts at green lights, and all the times I’ve perhaps pushed the car a bit too hard.
And the verdict is in: I’m exactly what I thought I wasn’t. I’m a stereotypical New Jersey driver. As the old adage goes, the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem, and Automatic’s neat little dongle + app combo has helped me to realize just that.
But let’s back up a moment — how does this all work? Let’s back up a moment first. Since 1996, every car that’s been sold in the United States has what’s called an OBD-II port nestled in it somewhere. Odds are good you don’t even know what it looks like (it’s a little trapezoidal thing with 16 pins) or where it is. It’s there so mechanics and car dealers can troubleshoot automotive issues by connecting a computer to the thing, and the Automatic team has whipped up a consumer device that pops in there to monitor your car’s speed, fuel injection rate, and more.
There are a few extra bits in there that make the Link dongle more than your average diagnostics tool. The accelerometer means that it can detect sudden stops and starts, and there’s a tiny speaker built into the that audibly alerts you in those moments.
It sounds like sort of a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Consistently slamming your brakes isn’t doing your car any favors, but the dongle is much more sensitive than that — seemingly normal stops can trigger the alert which sort of forces you to reconsider how normal your driving really is. The dongle also beeps at you when you’re too quick off the line (something I’m apparently guilty of way too often), and when you push your car over 70 miles per hour. In the end, you’re left with a gadget that’s capable of giving you realtime driving feedback while you tool around town (and it’s much more pleasant than having a backseat driver bark at you).
Of course, the (currently iOS-only) app plays a big role in all this too as the Link connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. You can’t glance down at your phone in-the-moment for immediate status updates — the only feedback you’re getting while driving is those audio notifications — but it dutifully chews on all of that data post-drive to show you your route and how many of those driving faux pas you made on the road. It also displays a rough estimate of your fuel economy, and I do mean rough — some quick, back of the napkin calculations gave me figures that weren’t always as peachy as the ones the app displayed. Automatic says this is a known issue though, and they’re apparently working on improving accuracy.
All of those metrics get boiled down into a single weekly score so users can easily track their progress over time.
And thankfully, there are some features that I haven’t had to use yet. In the event that your car throws up a Check Engine light, the Automatic app is capable of showing some detailed information about what may be causing it and how to potentially fix it. And if you’ve got Crash Alert enabled, the Link will be on the lookout for the sort of incredibly hard stops that usually signify, well, a crash. In the event it detects one, it collects your location information using your phone’s GPS and attempts to send it along to the local authorities by way of Automatic’s backend servers. It’s exclusive to the U.S. and still very much in beta though — Automatic admits that at this point there’s no guarantee that any nearby police stations or fire departments will respond.
There are, as always, some caveats to be aware of. While years and years worth of cars physically have an OBD-II port somewhere, the Automatic Link can’t decipher the data from every single one of them (you can check your car’s compatibility here).
That crucial Bluetooth connection presents some problems of its own too — if you’re the type of person who relies on Bluetooth to stream your music through your car stereo or access your contact list on the go, you may to have to decide which of these experiences means more to you. Then again, there’s a fair to middling chance that if your car came with Bluetooth functionality out of the gate, it’s already going to replicate some of the Automatic Link’s more basic features.
And you know what? That’s just fine. My car rolled off an assembly line in 2006, which was apparently the model year just before the one when neato options like AUX inputs and in-dash fuel economy gauges became standard fare. A drill and a $15 gewgaw from Amazon fixed that first problem, and now a $99 gadget + app combination have taken care of the latter for me (and then some). On some level though, I just wish the Automatic system did more — I’d love a web view that lets me dig into all this information in aggregate, and some maintenance reminders every few thousand miles since I’m probably running a little behind on that too.
Now this is all well and good, but there’s a bigger question to tackle: am I actually a better driver?
Well, I’m getting there. The thing to remember about Automatic is that it isn’t going to magically make you a more conscientious driver — you have to work at it. The name of the game is behavior modification through better data. In that sense the Automatic dongle is a sort of Fitbit for your car, a reasonably inexpensive doodad that shines a little more light on what you put your car (and your wallet) through on a weekly basis. Exactly what you do with that data is entirely up to you.
In my case, I’ve slowly grown to be a bit more thoughtful on road in the two or so weeks since I first jammed the dongle in my ODB port. That’s not to say that I’ve given up my leadfoot tendencies completely — sometimes you just need to crank things up a bit — but I’m noticeably more cognizant of how fast I’m going at any given moment. It’s even gotten to the point where I finding myself driving as close to 70 MPH as possible without actually going over, even when the Automatic isn’t plugged in.
It’s also not meant to be a replacement for more robust, capable ODB scanners. Needless to say, dyed-in-the-wool car buffs may not find enough value here to warrant a purchase. The same goes for people who are more than happy putting pedals to the metal on a regular basis — chances are they’re not planning to change their behavior very soon. But for cost-conscious consumers? Or people like me who actively want to change their driving style? The Automatic experience is worth the asking price, and with any luck it’ll only get better with time.
Video production by Steve Long
HTC isn’t exactly doing great these days, but that may change if a new (and secretive) partnership pans out. A new report from the Financial Times alleges that HTC has partnered with none other than Amazon on a handful of devices that could make their way to the e-tailer’s virtual shelves as soon as next year.
That is, if they make it to market it at all. The FT points out that the launch timeline for one of those smartphones has already been mucked around with once, and there’s no guarantee that Amazon will ever sell the thing.
If true though, this could be a huge huge deal for the Taiwanese phone maker. Putting strange choices like the recently revealed One Max aside, there’s little question that HTC is capable of putting together some top-notch hardware. And to hear the company tell it, a lot of its problems stem from consumer perception — the HTC brand isn’t nearly as prominent or memorable as Apple’s or Samsung’s, an issue the company has tried to turn around with the launch of an expensive marketing campaign featuring Iron Man Robert Downey Jr.
And for what it’s worth, it wouldn’t be the first time that HTC has entered into a curious, potentially game-changing partnership. The Taiwanese company linked up with Google in 2008 to product the very first publicly available Android device, and that relationship also saw HTC push out the inaugural Nexus smartphone some two years later. Then more recently there was the tie-up with Facebook which ultimately yielded the HTC First, the first (and so far only) device to ship pre-loaded with the social networking giant’s Facebook Home interface. In fact, the company’s seeming eagerness to ink these sorts of deals almost seems like a trait encoded in the company’s DNA considering its humble origins as a maker of white-label gadgets that other companies could slap their livery all over.
The notion of an Amazon smartphone is one that’s been floating around for years now too, though the report is bolstered by recent leaks that indicate that more than one device is currently under development. According to earlier reports, the company was at least considering acquiring RIM in late 2011 in a move that would ostensibly provide the online retail titan with the development know-how and IP portfolio to have a spirited go at cracking the crowded smartphone market. As I noted some years ago though, an Amazon smartphone needs to have a hook to help bring customers on-board, and the company is in a better position than ever to do just that.
Its very brand is going to be enough to induce some people to dive in, as are the potential price tags — this line of devices is expected to run the pricing gamut just as the current line of Kindle Fire tablets do. And then there are the seemingly little things. Imagine if Mayday, the video-call-in-distress feature that debuted on the Kindle Fire HDX wound up on a phone. Since Amazon isn’t likely to flood carrier supply channels with these its phones, the notion of an on-demand assistant to help with initial setup and subsequent problems would be a staggering benefit for people itching for a friendlier sort of smartphone. Throw in a reported “3D” interface that responds to user head movements and we have the makings of a device (or devices) that could really make some waves.
At this point it’s starting to seem like all the pieces are finally coming together to make a series of Amazon phones happen, and it’s not hard to see how both Amazon and HTC could benefit. And this could be just what HTC needs to turn things around, so it had better Hope To Christ (or, you know, whatever deity whose newsletter they subscribe to) that this deal turns out fruitful.
Amazon has been churning out LCD-based Kindle tablets for the past two years, and there’s no question that the company has improved from the original, BlackBerry PlayBook-style Kindle Fire. But with the Fire HDX, is there enough of an improvement to upgrade from the Kindle Fire HD?
That’s the question John Biggs and I investigate on this latest episode of Fly Or Die.
John, as a real-life Kindle fanboy, feels that this is the very best Fire that Amazon has to offer. The specs have been bumped considerably, with a 1920×1200 display at 323ppi, a 2.2-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and up to 64GB of internal storage under the hood.
Biggs also reported in his review that battery life is improved, while camera functionality has some strange issues.
But for me, I’m not sure that a slightly better display is worth the upgrade, considering that the Fire HD already has a hi-res screen. The form factor is nice, as the new model is thinner and lighter, but again the improvements aren’t convincing enough for me to advocate throwing down $300 on a tablet limited to Amazon content if you already have one.
Of course, Amazon is a strong competitor in the tablet market against Apple, and the HDX will most certainly sell well. Plus, at the end of the day, the decision is yours.