September 28, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The Amazon Kindle Fire is official. Long-rumored and oft-speculated, the Kindle Fire is Amazon’s Android-based tablet and reading device set to take on he Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, and several Android Honeycomb tablets. The difference between Amazon’s offering and that of rivals is that it will cost only $199.
At a press event in New York City, Amazon unveiled the low-cost Kindle Fire, a 7-inch device that is geared towards people who want a reading device above all else, but still want a full-color touchscreen with more features. It’s the same strategy employed by Barnes & Noble for its Nook Color. And much like the Nook Color, the Kindle Fire is a heavily-customized version of Android 2.1 aimed at fans of its popular reading devices who have flirted with purchasing an iPad.
The Kindle Fire has a similar build to the BlackBerry Playbook (they were both built by the same company.) There’s no camera or 3G radio, but that was necessary in order to get the low price. Users will access the web through Wi-Fi and still have what appears to be a capable dual-core processor. No, it won’t keep pace with all the Honeycomb options out there, but it will browse the web, read ebooks and magazines, play music, stream movies and TV episodes, run most apps, and cost a fraction of the price.
As we previously suggested, Amazon is using the Kindle Fire as a low-cost alternative to rival devices. This is because the company believes that by building a large audience, it will recoup the lost revenue through people purchasing books from the Kindle store, music from Amazon Cloud, and apps from the Android Appstore. All of these features are available on the device. (The Android Market and the standard Google Mobile apps will not be supported.) To further entice users, Kindle Fire buyers will receive a free 30-day trial of the Amazon Prime service, which enables video streaming and free, fast shipping on physical devices.
The device will ship for $199 on November 15, 2011. Pre-order it at Amazon.com/KindleFire
- 14.6 ounces and able to hold in one hand
- WhisperSync supports video, so you can watch on your computer or TV, and have the last viewing point saved to your Kindle Fire.
- Access media on the device or through the cloud. Apps can play from either source, and controls for music appear no matter where you are.
- As MG Siegler points out, there’s a cover-flow-like UI. Scroll through carousel to get to feature or pinpoint your favorites at the bottom.
- Gorilla Glass display for extra protection of the 7-inch screen.
- Custom Android browser designed to accelerate speed through “Dynamic Split Browsing” that has a mix of client and server-side processing. There’s cache, split loading, predictive loading, and other features that allow Amazon to optimize the web “a lot faster,” so it greatly decreases page load times.
|Display||7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.|
|Size (in inches)||7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).|
|Weight||14.6 ounces (413 grams).|
|System Requirements||None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer.|
|On-device Storage||8GB internal. That’s enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.|
|Cloud Storage||Free cloud storage for all Amazon content|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.|
|Charge Time||Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.|
|USB Port||USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)|
|Audio||3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.|
|Content Formats Supported||Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.|
|Documentation||Quick Start Guide(included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device)|
|Included in the Box||Kindle Fire tablet, U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V), and Quick Start Guide.|