Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon's Kindle Fire Will Rock the Tablet Market!

The Kindle Fire was the star of the show, but Amazon launched 2 other new Kindles today: the $79 Kindle and the Kindle Touch in Wi-Fi only ($99) and 3G ($149) versions. As great as they are the Kindle Fire was what everyone was interested in.

First off, price. At $199 this is game changing. Amazon Prime is free for the first 30 days, but after that will cost the normal $79/year. The Fire has a 7" display and will have access to all of Amazon’s services including AmazonMP3, Amazon Prime, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Instant Video and the Amazon AppStore. The tablet is powered by a dual-core processor and weighs 413 grams. This compares to the the iPad at over 600 grams, albeit with a 9,7" screen. Customers can pre-order the Kindle Fire today and it will ship November 15 2011, just in time for the holidays!

The Fire runs on the Android 2.3, but you won't see much sign of it. Amazon have built their own UI on top of Android, and it looks pretty good. One of the great features Amazon have built in is Whispersync, which not only automatically syncs your library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across your devices, but on Kindle Fire, Whispersync extends to video.

Amazon also introduced their own browser for the Fire, called Amazon Silk. From their own description: "Amazon Silk is a revolutionary, cloud-accelerated browser that uses a "split browser" architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud. Supports Adobe® Flash® Player." It will be interesting to see how it shapes up against the established browsers.

With access to the Amazon AppStore, getting access to and running your favorite apps shouldn't be a problem, but I must point out that there is no camera. An email app is included, or you can download one from the AppStore.

For those that like to know the numbers, the screen is a 7" multi-touch with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors. There is 8GB internal memory, which is apparently enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. However, there is also unlimited free cloud storage for anything you purchase from Amazon. The battery offers up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. These numbers will vary depending on how much web browsing you're doing.

If the device looks familiar, that's because the hardware is essentially the same as the Blackberry Playbook, without the cameras and microphone.

Amazon have taken a leaf out of the Apple playbook (no pun intended). They have focused their effort on offering a service. This is where every Android tablet has come short. If you visit the web site, or watch any of the video from the launch, you will be left in no doubt what this device is meant for. It is for downloading (or streaming) media content from Amazon, and it offers you the convenience of access to all the apps you're familiar with. There is very little detail of the technical specs - they offer a device that is designed to do a job, and it will do it well.

The Kindle Fire, at $199, compared to the cheapest iPad at $499, is an incredible bargain. Tablets have just been opened up to the mainstream - this is no longer an elitist device. To quote Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos: "These are premium products at nonpremium prices". If you thought the iPad was selling well, watch this one fly of the shelves! The only downside: it's US only for now.

Thanks for reading!