6 things Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 does that Nexus 9 can't

Both the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Nexus 9 tablets are top-quality, high-end tablet options, but each outshines the other in a number of notable ways. Here are six things the Fire HDX 8.9 does that the Nexus 9 can't.

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4) Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Supports Dolby Atmos Surround Sound 

The new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the first tablet to support Dolby's Atmos audio technology. Atmos is a new way to deliver cinema-quality surround sound using different audio channels that sound as if they're coming from a variety of different directions, include above.

amazon kindle fire hdx 8.9 tablet Amazon

Atmos did sound very cool when I tested it using Bose headphones and a few video clips Amazon sent my way, but it's still new, and relatively few movies support the technology. It supposedly works with any headphones, but again, if the source file doesn't support Atmos, you won't be able to take full advantage of the tech.

The Nexus 9 has HTC "Boom Sound," which also sounds good enough to me, but it does not offer the same level of "surround" audio. 

5) Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Has Firefly and Mayday

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the first Amazon tablet to get the company's Firefly feature. Firefly lets you point your tablet's rear camera at a variety of objects and symbols, including books, CDs, DVDs, video games, email addresses, phone numbers, URLs, artwork and QR codes, and it brings you to a page with more information and/or options to buy — usually from Amazon. 

amazon event firefly

Amazon says Firefly can recognize more than 100 million different items. And the company says new Firefly technology that's "coming soon" to the Fire HDX 8.9 will be able to recognize more than 240,000 movies, TV episodes and songs, so you can easily find more information on films, shows and artists. 

Honestly, I don't see all that much value in Firefly on the Fire HDX 8.9, because I rarely carry my tablet around with me unless I'm traveling or it's packed away in a bag, where it would be awkward to whip out and use Firefly. That said, there's nothing quite like Firefly available for the Nexus 9, so it is noteworthy. 

6) Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Has LTE, Nexus 9 LTE 'Coming Soon'

Google started shipping the Wi-Fi version of its Nexus 9 more than a month ago in early November, and at the time it provided no specific timeline for when the LTE version would be released. A couple of weeks later, T-Mobile became the first wireless carrier to announce specific release details for the LTE-capable Nexus 9, but it soon after delayed its planned early December release.

In other words, it's unclear when the LTE Nexus 9 will be available. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is available with Verizon- and AT&T-compatible LTE in two storage configurations, 32GB and 64GB. If you seek an Android tablet with LTE, and you either need it before the holidays or simply don't want to wait for Google to release the LTE Nexus 9, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a better option.

For more information on the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 visit Amazon's website. And check out Google's Nexus 9 page for additional details on its new tablet.

If you're interested in the other side of this story, read "6 Things the Nexus 9 Does That Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Can't."


This story, "6 things Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 does that Nexus 9 can't " was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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