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

Al Sacco | Dec. 15, 2014
The new Google Nexus 9 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) are both quality high-end tablet options, but they outshine each other in a number of notable ways. Here are six things the Nexus 9 does that the Fire HDX 8.9 can't.

google htc nexus 9 tablet
Credit: Google

Ranging from budget devices with basic functionality to cutting-edge tablets for gadget lovers, the world of Android tablets is packed with options. With so many choices, it's challenging to decide on the best tablet for you or someone on your gift list.

The Google Nexus 9 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) are two of the newest and best high-end Android tablets. (The original version of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has been discontinued and replaced by the new 2014 version, which is the tablet referenced in this story.) However, each is suited to specific types of users. When researching a new technology purchase, it's helpful to not only consider a tablet's full feature set, but also the features it lacks.

After spending a few weeks with both of these Android tablets, a handful of things jump out as important to know for anyone who's trying to decide between the newest Kindle Fire HDX tablet and Google's latest Nexus tablet. Here are half a dozen things the Nexus tablet does that the Fire HDX 8.9 can't.

(Of course, this is only one side of the story. For the opposite take, read "6 Things the New Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Does That Nexus 9 Can't.")

1) Unique Nexus Experience for Android Purists
The thing that sets Nexus devices apart from other Android tablets, and the thing that makes them so attractive to "Android purists," is the fact that they are the first devices to get Android software updates directly from Google. In fact, they often get the latest software months, sometimes years, before other devices. The heavy-tailored versions of Android that tardily arrive on other Android devices are frequently bogged down with gimmicky features and bloatware that serves some carrier purpose just as much as it provides true value for the user.

The software that runs on Nexus devices -- all Nexus devices, not just the Nexus 9 tablet, which is manufactured by HTC -- is "purely Google," meaning it hasn't been modified by a third-party. My Nexus 9 is currently running Android v5.0.1 "Lollipop," and both the user interface and software experience are head and shoulders above what you get with an Amazon tablet. The version of Android on the Nexus also enables a number of features and functionality that are not available to Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 users.

For example, Android Lollipop's "material design" elements provide a much more modern, visually appealing and sleek navigation experience than the Fire OS. The Nexus OS is also designed to communicate with a range of other Android devices running Lollipop, so you can do things like quickly access files and information on your tablet after searching for them on your phone.


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