Amazon Announces Kindle Fire Tablet For $199
Amazon added some firepower to the Kindle lineup and recently announced their entry into the tablet market with the Amazon Fire. The main selling point to the new tablet is undoubtedly the $199 price tag, positioning it well below Apple’s bottom-of-the-line iPad.
The Fire has a 7-inch IPS display (Gorilla glass and 169 pixels per inch), 8 GB of storage, a dual core CPU, 512 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi only, weighing in at just 14.6 ounces. The battery life was oddly enough not mentioned during the presentation of the device. Amazon did address the 8GB of storage space, informing everyone that anyone who buys a Fire can store as much content in Amazon’s Cloud as they want, allowing them to delete and/or retrieve content as they please.
Fire users will have access to 100,000 movies and TV shows, 17 million songs, the Android App Store, Kindle Books, and all of Amazon’s content via Fire (where fees and subscriptions apply). Movies and content will sync across all the users’ Amazon streaming enabled devices, meaning that a Movie that is paused on the Fire will pick up exactly where the user left off on their TV at home. Everything syncs in the background as well and no updates will have to be performed by the user.
The Fire runs a very customized Android user interface and reports from the announcement are confirming that the device is quite fast. In an effort to speed up mobile web browsing, Amazon has even developed their own web browser called “Silk.” Silk works by processing some information on the tablet itself, but farms the bulk of the processing load to Amazon’s EC2 computer cluster. Dynamic Split Browsing – the technology behind it all – can do every process locally or remotely. The Silk browser essentially uses Amazon’s cloud to act as an infinite cache for browsed web pages. Silk even learns your browsing patterns and will therefore pre-load often visited web pages for an almost instantaneous launch when visiting the site.
Amazon seems to have delivered, but not necessarily an iPad killer. It seems that they produced a device with a decidedly different approach – a minimalistic one. It doesn’t flaunt its power like many other Android tablets and it clearly lacks several features found in the iPad, such as a camera, microphone, 3G connectivity, GPS, etc. This seems to be a purely media viewing device where content creation and business communication isn’t a concern. The company has distilled the media viewing experience down to its bare essence and appears to have successfully married it to their cloud services to produce the first true cloud-based tablet. It isn’t an iPad killer since it lacks the numbers of features to become one but I bet that there will be enough consumers out there who will opt for the cheaper device at $199, as opposed to Apple’s cheapest iPad ($499).
The pre-orders have started today and the first shipments will land on customers’ doorsteps on November 15th.
You can catch Amazon’s Kindle Fire TV commercial below: