Amazon sucked the air out of the room today when it revealed its own branded tablet, the Kindle Fire.
Anticipation was high after Amazon said earlier this week that its Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, would have an important announcement today. And what an announcement is was – not just its long awaited tablet, but three other new devices were introduced as well: a new Kindle e-reader for $79; a new Kindle Touch wifi version for $99; and a new Kindle Touch 3G for $149.
But of course, the Kindle Fire created the most excitement – what Amazon described as a ‘high end’ tablet, for just $199. Even before it was released, critics and consumers were asking if this would be the long awaited ‘iPad killer’.
Well, probably not. Though considering its price, $199 (compared to the iPad’s price of $499 – to start) it does give consumers something to think about.
The Kindle Fire is a small tablet. Brian Blair, of Wedge Partners Corp, considers that a drawback. “I don’t actually believe 7-inch is going to be a viable tablet for anybody.” he told Bloomberg. “It’s a ‘tweener. A real tablet offering has got to be a 10-inch screen.”
But it is powerful, boasting of a dual core processor and a brand new web browser called ‘Amazon Silk’, which Amazon refers to as a cloud-accelerated browser. Amazon also says the Fire is simple to use, and has access to 100,000 streaming/downloadable movies and TV shows for purchase or rent, and 10,000 free movies and shows for Amazon Prime members.
The Kindle Fire will not necessarily play well with a large amount of Android apps on the market. Amazon will be offering a good number of Fire tested apps through its own Amazon Appstore, but so far, Amazon only offers about 10,000 apps through its store (and not all of those may be usable on the Fire), while about 200,000 are available on the general Android market.
To bolster its somewhat paltry 8GB of onboard storage, the Fire comes with free Amazon cloud storage. But the free cloud storage is limited to content acquired from Amazon. A free one month membership to Amazon Prime is also included with the purchase of a Kindle Fire.
With this first look from a distance, the Kindle Fire appears to be designed as a great way to interface with Amazon and its media content. There are a few extras, such as access to web and email. It doesn’t appear that Amazon had going ‘head to head’ with the iPad in mind when they built the Fire. More like a simple, entertainment focused, alternative to the iPad. And after-all how many of us do use our iPads primarily for entertainment – eh? Be honest now!
Will you be getting one, or saving your money for an iPad?