It’s really hard to tell what Amazon’s going to do with regard to its new devices. Everyone was excited over the release of a new Kindle—and then it turned out to cost nearly $300. Now Amazon’s released another tablet…sort of. Amazon’s just made the Fire HD 10 tablet available in a new aluminum case. The most expensive tablet in Amazon’s Fire line, the HD 10 costs $229.99 for a 16 GB version, or $259.99 for a 32 GB version. The other major change is that the “silver aluminum” version also comes with a 64 GB storage option for $289.99—in addition to the 128 GB SD card slot that all recent Fire tablets have. (These prices are With Special Offers, of course—removing the Special Offers adds $15 across the board.)
Other than that, it’s still the same tablet. If that’s the only change Amazon plans to make, might this mean Amazon doesn’t otherwise plan to refresh its tablet line this year? (Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader thinks so.) That would make sense to me. Designing and testing new hardware costs money, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any compelling reason to throw more money at making these tablets even faster and better when they’re good enough as it is right now.
That seems to be the Fire line’s entire reason for being, when you get right down to it—not being the most advanced possible thing, but being sufficient to screen media and games from Amazon’s ecosystem. As it stands right now, that’s what they are. They’re still decidedly cheap—despite being called “HD,” the HD 10 only offers 1280 x 800 resolution—720P at best. My 7” Nexus 7 has a 1080P screen, and my 6” Nexus 6 has a 1440P screen, so the Fire HD is not exactly top-notch hardware by comparison. But for watching video at that size, you generally don’t notice a lower resolution. So, again, the Fire’s good enough. And maybe that’s all Amazon needs for right now.