Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet review: Great hardware; Poor App Ecosystem

Net’s Steve Ranger saysthat while Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet’s target market is mainly consumers, Amazon is also wooing business users, and the Kindle Fire is the second most popular tablet in business use in the US. with the latest model ading new features to further increase its workplace appeal.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ panelhas a resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels, giving a pixel density of 339ppi. in an impressively trim 7.8mm thick encosure weighing at 374g for the wi-fi-only model, making it significantly lighter than the 469g wi-fi iPad Air), and still reassuringly sturdy thanks to its magnesium chassis.

Ranger says the bevelled edges of the screen make it fit very easily in the hand, and perfectly comfortable to hold for the duration of a movie, for example.

The 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM ensures lively proformance with no lag when switching between apps, and the 8.9-inch unit has two cameras — 720p HD at the front and 8MP 1080p full-HD at the back.

Ranger tested the ad-supported model, which is cheaper, but displays an add-on the lock screen. Paying extra for the ‘without special offers’ model will rid you of this irritation, and he says it’s money well spent.

The bundled Silk browser is basic, but adequate — although the ‘Reading View’ that strips out most of the formatting on a web page to make for an easier read is a nice touch, turning over-busy web pages into a more relaxing reading experience.

By using a fork of Android, Amazon has created walled garden of apps, and Ranger advises that it’s worth bearing in mind that developers inevitably go for the biggest and most lucrative markets first, starting with iOS, then Android, then Windows Phone. At the moment, Amazon’s Fire OS fork is probably about the same priority for developers as Windows Phone.

As for Kindle’s enterprise-ready credentials, Amazon cites support for encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure wi-fi connections and VPN integration — all welcome additions.

Ranger concludes that the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 inch is an impressive hardware package, but at the moment the splendid hardware is held back by an underwhelming set of apps, and an app ecosystem is big part of the equation choosing a tablet.

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