Britain’s battle of the tablets has a new contender as Amazon announces the arrival of its latest Kindle Fire devices.
The new Kindle Fire HDX tablet is billed as having improved graphics and being significantly faster and lighter than the previous generation, and comes with a host of new features including troubleshooting with a live customer service representative and improved parental controls.
The retail giant is selling the devices on pre-order from today for a 13 November delivery, making it the latest firm to unveil a new tablet in time for the Christmas rush as companies attempt to tap into the 75 per cent of the UK’s population who still do not own a tablet.
Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice-president for Kindle in the EU, said: "It is competitive but it's a huge space and there is room for lots of people to sell tablets. It's really hard to do really well because it is not just a device. You have to have a very solid ecosystem of content that people can purchase.
"We're very comfortable with the position Amazon is in. I just know we are never satisfied because customers are never satisfied, and we will keep innovating on their behalf."
Available in an 8.9in version costing £329 and a 7in model, which will retail at £199, experts said the Android-powered Fire HDX would be in competition with the iPad Mini and Google's Nexus 7 when it hits stores in November.
The already-available Fire HD model, costing £119, has been spruced up to be slimmer and lighter, with improvements to its sound system, and will be up against the cheaper new devices offered by Argos and Tesco.
Offering a tablet of their own is increasingly seen as a means of generating costumer loyalty by retailers and Amazon includes advertising and recommendations for its vast offer of products, which range from books to jewellery, on its tablets' lock-screen.
Users can opt out of the advertisements, but must pay for the privilege, and Amazon claims that most choose not to.
Among the gimmicks included with the Kindle Fire HDX is a live-aid feature called Mayday, which allows users to summon a live customer service representative in a tiny video window within 15 seconds.
Helpers are on call to explain new features and answer queries while guiding users with on-screen scribbles and remotely take control of the device.
For both the Fire HDX and HD, Amazon has expanded its X-Ray feature, which uses the IMDb movie database to offer instant trivia, character back stories and soundtrack information.
It has also introduced new-look parental controls called FreeTime, which allows parents to determine exactly what their children do with the device.