September 25, 2013 Last Updated 9:20 am

Amazon announces third generation of Kindle Fire tablets, new Kindle Fire HDX

Rather than have a splashy launch event, Amazon.com simply sent out press releases and redid its home page to announce its third generation of Kindle Fire tablets. The surprise announcement beats Apple to the punch as Apple has yet to even announce a date for its iPad event (expected to be on October 15 or 22).

Amazon released a brand new tablet named the Kindle Fire HDX with upgraded hardware and new features.

HDX-familyThe new HDX line comes in 7″ and 8.9″ models with displays at 323 ppi and 339 ppi respectively. The HDX features a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2 GHz and will run the latest version of the Fire OS, OS 3.0 “Mojito”.

The tablet comes with a Mayday button: the button connects you instantly to live tech support. Amazon promises 24×7, 365 days a year support at no extra charge. This sounds like an incredibly cool feature until one realizes what kids may do with it.

The HDX models will cost $229 and $379.

Mayday-sm“It’s been just two years since we introduced the first Kindle Fire, and the team is innovating at an unbelievable speed,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO said in the announcement. “2.2 GHz processor, 339 ppi display, new 34% lighter design, Fire OS 3.0, and new exclusive features like the Mayday button, X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, and Prime Instant Video downloads. We’ve worked hard to pack this much hardware, innovation, and customer obsession into these prices.”

The HDX will feature Second Screen that allows users to stream media to their TVs – a feature that will work with PlayStation 3 and Samsung sets. There is also X-Ray for Movies and TV that shows the names of songs as they play, a list of all music in the movie or TV show, and lets you jump to scenes in which a song is playing.

The 7″ Kindle Fire HDX will begin shipping October 18, while the 4G model will begin shipping November 14. The 8.9″ model will begin shipping on November 7, while the 4G model will begin shipping December 10.

Preorders begin today.

The full Amazon press release can be found here.