It's a good time to be a gamer. Any company worth its salt is rolling out some sort of tablet, and where there's tablets, you know there's going to be gaming.
Amazon announced a slew of new Kindles at a Sept. 6 press event in Santa Monica, and the standout was the Kindle Fire HD, a new tablet with a more powerful processor and high-definition screen that will go head-to-head with both the Google Nexus 7 tablet and Apple's iPad. Amazon's new tablet comes in three models: 7-inch version for $159 and an 8.9-inch version for $300 (available in November) and a Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE for $499, plus a $50/year data plan (which ships on November 20).
Even though gaming wasn't a main focus of Amazon's hardware-centric event, there's plenty that on-the-go gamers can look forward to with the new Kindle Fire HD tablet's arrival.
1. Games will look better
The new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire will include a 1920x1200 254 ppi display and a laminated touch sensor that promises 25 percent less glare, important for those who want to play games--quell horreur!--outdoors. To compare, the current Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 600x1024 (169 ppi), and the current Retina iPad has a 2048 x1536 (264 ppi) display. So, do a little math, and you'll see that playing games on the new Kindle Fire will be more visually pleasing, provided the games on the system are ready to be viewed in glorious HD.
2. Games will run faster
Under the hood, the new Kindle Fire HD houses a new CPU, the Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which is purportedly faster (in some regards) than Nvidia's Tegra processor, which is found in Google's Nexus 7 tablet and Microsoft's Surface tablet, due in late October.
3. Save games in the cloud
The Kindle Fire HD includes Whispersync for games, which means you'll be able to save your games to the cloud, so you'll never lose your place in a game. Note: This feature was announced earlier this summer, as part of Amazon's GameCircle, which is a gaming network for the system, similar to Apple's GameCenter.
4. Track game progress and achievements
Also part of Amazon's Game Circle, you will be able to see how your game scores stack up to your friends on leaderboards along with achievements and how much progress you've made in a particular game.
5. Buy game-related stuff in-game
In addition to tracking progress in a game, Amazon showed off the ability to buy game related items inside the game. In Activision's Skylanders, which requires players to buy real-world action figures that can then be introduced into the game, there's an option to buy one of the said action figures inside the game (from Amazon, of course) with the press of a button and have it delivered directly to your house. This could be good or bad depending on the audience; I can see kids saying yay, and parents saying nay.
Of course, the real test on how viable the Kindle Fire HD will be for game-playing folks depends on what games will be available. Right now, that consists of thousands of Android games, which include many of the biggies, i.e. Angry Birds Space, Temple Run and Words with Friends. It will be interesting to see if the Kindle Fire will lock down more exclusives in the near future, namely from its in-house Amazon Game Studio, which recently released Living Classics on Facebook.
Image credit: Amazon and Engadget
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