Amazon has officially (FINALLY) announced their 7 inch Android tablet – the Kindle Fire. Keeping up with Amazon’s reputation of affordable devices (and prices all around) they’ve committed to debuting the Kindle Fire at $200. At this price point, they look to undercut a ton of competition. The name alone will drive interest but is the product going to be as revolutionary as the original Kindle was?
Well, for starters, this one doesn’t have any cameras, a microphone or 3G connectivity. The Kindle is to Amazon what the NOOKcolor is to Barnes & Noble. This one probably won’t be seeing Honeycomb anytime soon. Android 2.x (most likely Froyo or Gingerbread) is installed but the Android OS has been completely transformed to Amazon’s liking.
The device is designed to surround many of Amazon’s services, including eBook, music downloads, video rentals, purchases and streaming, apps from their Android appstore and more.
The Kindle Fire will weigh 14.6 ounces and it also has a dual-core processor! Much faster than what we imagined it would have as this one isn’t being marketed as a beast-like powerhouse.
Touching more on the media side of things Amazon is making a big deal out of Whispersync, as they should. Not only is Whispersync already integrated into the Kindle Reader application, but also into movie and TV show rentals. If you find your way to a television in the middle of a show you can continue where you left off on the big screen.
Unfortunately, this thing isn’t your traditional Android tablet. There is no “home screen” to speak of, no widgets or anything that would remind you of Android. If we didn’t know any better, we wouldn’t know what this is.
That’s not to say that the interface doesn’t look good, but if you were hoping for this to be your next everyday tablet you may need to look elsewhere – this one is designed for users who are deeply involved in the Amazon ecosystem. Amazon provides an elegant interface to access all of your content through them – really, it’s exactly how we imagined an Amazon device would look.
Amazon also announced a new Browser technology and the first implementation will be on the Kindle Fire itself. They’re calling it Amazon Split and it’s essentially a two-part browser – Amazon’s EC2 super computer cluster loads and processes intense webpage images and code on Amazon servers, while the browser on the tablet is left to do much smaller tasks. Gizmodo provides us with this image from the event:
Silk will preload certain pages that you visit often, meaning you’ll be able to load Phandroid.com’s new content in only a fraction of the time it currently takes you on other browsers! Amazon can also store your cache on the EC2 servers, meaning you have virtually unlimited cache. This is how cloud-based browsing should be done and we’re very excited to see Amazon put everything into play on the Fire.
The Kindle Fire is a very interesting device to behold, but we’re still a bit of time away from its official launch – November 15th. No, we can’t wait either. You can preorder one starting from today at Amazon.com.