Amazon's new Fire HDX tablet offers higher resolution than Apple's iPad and is equipped with a Bluetooth keyboard like Microsoft's Surface

Amazon challenges Apple's iPad with improved Fire HDX

Online retail giant Amazon has announced a complete refresh of its tablet computer and e-reader devices, including a special child-friendly version of their Fire HD tablet.

The Seattle-based firm announced two new versions of their Kindle e-reader device, including the Voyage, which at 7.8mm is the thinnest e-reader ever, the company said.

The device weighs only 180g and has been shown off alongside a new version of the original Kindle, which will have a touch display for the first time. The Voyage also has the clearest display Amazon has ever created with 300 pixels per inch.

The Kindle will start shipping in October, as well as a new Fire HDX tablet.

The Fire HDX was one of three new tablets introduced by Amazon at the launch event in New York. The 8.9in tablet is comparable in size with Apple’s iPad but offers one million more pixels on screen than the Apple device.

Following Microsoft’s example, Amazon equipped the tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard.

"The team has packed an incredible amount of technology and innovation into the new Fire HDX – an incredible HDX display, a powerful quad-core processor, a 70 per cent faster graphics engine, exceptional audio, and faster Wi-Fi – and it's still startlingly light,” said Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.

"Fire HDX combines excellent hardware with exclusive features from Fire OS4 including Firefly, the Mayday button, Family Library, ASAP and more," he added. 

This latest move from Amazon comes at the end of a busy summer for consumer technology, with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hitting stores worldwide tomorrow, and Samsung having introduced a new version of their 6in smartphone, the Galaxy Note, that comes complete with a curved screen on one side, operating as a news ticker and notification bar. The Korean company's new devices start arriving in October.

The new range of Fire HD tablets come in two sizes and five colours, but the most interesting aspect of Amazon's smaller tablet is the introduction of the Kids Edition.

This unique version of the tablet runs a simplified mobile operating system that is icon-based, designed for younger users to take advantage of apps and other media.

Amazon confirmed that the Kids Edition will contain their Free Time software, which will enable parents to set time limits on what apps can be used on a device as well as goals and rewards for logging reading and educational app time.

Although the Kids Edition has not yet been given a UK release date, Amazon confirmed that all the other new devices are now available to order online.

Technology giant and rival Apple is expected to update their own tablet, the iPad, at an event as early as next month.

The announcement in New York completes an impressive round of hardware news from the e-commerce firm, after already confirming plans to bring both their TV streaming box, Fire TV and the company's first smartphone – the Fire Phone – to the UK for the first time.

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