Amazon Kindle Fire: A $199 Kindle Tabletby Jason Inofuentes on September 28, 2011 9:54 AM EST
Earlier reports of the device now known as the Kindle Fire have varied wildly and with speculation rampant about what Amazon might announce the finished product appears to fall nicely in between the greatest device ever and a serious disappointment. We'll begin with pricing. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, repeated one line more than any other during the event today, "premium products at non-premium prices." By pegging the Fire at $199 he certainly is following through on the latter claim. This undercuts even the Barnes and Noble Nook Color, while providing specifications that match devices more than twice it's price. So, bargain? You bet.
And what you get for that $199 is a stylish black device with a 7" IPS 1024 x 600 screen, and a 1 GHz dual-core ARM processor. At 11.4mm the Fire is thicker than other slates, but as we've discussed before, a thicker device can still be pleasant to hold, so long as the form factor works. Reports from gdgt's Ryan Block indicate that Quanta Computers, who designed the BlackBerry PlayBook, were responsible for the design of the Kindle Fire, and by all accounts they seem to have not strayed far from that design. Holding to that design may include using the same TI OMAP 4430 SoC, though we have yet to confirm that. What we can confirm is that at 413 grams, this is one of the lightest weight tablets we've seen.
|Tablet Specification Comparison|
|Amazon Kindle Fire||Apple iPad 2||BlackBerry PlayBook||Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9|
|Dimensions||190 x 120 x 11.4mm||241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm||194 x 130 x 10mm||230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6mm|
|Display||7-inch 1024 x 600 IPS||9.7-inch 1024 x 768 IPS||7-inch 1024 x 600||8.9-inch 1280 x 800 PLS|
|Processor||1GHz TI OMAP 4430 (2 x Cortex A9)||1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9)||1GHz TI OMAP 4430 (2 x Cortex A9)||1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)|
Hardware isn't the whole store with the Fire, though. Amazon is selling a platform from which to experience it's various Amazon services, and it is leaving none of them from this party. Obviously, and this is the last mention of Android you'll find in this piece and their PR. For third party apps there's the Amazon Appstore. This will be the only official means by which buyers will be able to load their apps onto the device, though intrepid hackers will no doubt make quick work of the device. Amazon's MP3 store is on hand as well as Amazon's Kindle app and e-book store. This brings us up to apps, music, magazines and books. The addition of Amazon Prime Instant Videos rounds out the offerings with over 100,000 movies and TV shows from the likes of Fox, CBS and NBCUniversal. Buyers will be treated with an expanded WhisperSync service that now allows users to mark their place in movies and TV shows, as they already do with books and magazines. Amazon is even leveraging EC2, their web services provider to enhance the browsing experience with Amazon Silk.
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JoeMcJoe - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkyep, all the new e-ink kindles include lots of advertising.
marvdmartian - Thursday, September 29, 2011 - linkAgreed on the US only pity.
My niece just moved to Japan (to teach), and I'd love to get her one of the Kindle Fire's, as I know she was looking to get an e-reader before she left (but don't believe she did). She would LOVE the multi-media capabilities of the Fire, but when I contacted Amazon, they stated that not only is the Fire selling only the in the US, but that they are only supporting it's functions (buying material from Amazon, storage on the Amazon cloud, etc) in the US also.
Seems a little bit short sighted to me. :(
etamin - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkso who is handling the 3G? and just curious why there is a ? next to the (2x Cortex A9s) in the spec chart. The OMAP 4430 does indeed have 2x Cortex A9s in it.
z0mb13n3d - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkI think the '?' is because they might not sure if it does have the OMAP 4430 in it, although almost everything is pointing at that being the case.
Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkAs the article says, they don't know for sure if that's what it's using.
Not bad hardware, but I'm done with Amazon and Kindle after the crazed right-wing moderation going on there...
Craig234 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link"Not bad hardware, but I'm done with Amazon and Kindle after the crazed right-wing moderation going on there... "
I've ended my near boycott after they made a deal with CA, but I'm still wary.
A5 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkThere is no 3G on this yet. I assume that's on the list for version 2...
etamin - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkAh sorry about the wording. My question about 3G was actually meant to reference the Touch.
Guspaz - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - linkTo be honest, it's largely irrelevant who does the 3G service, since it's free once you've paid the up-front cost. It might only be relevant in terms of coverage; even performance isn't that big a deal when it's primarily used for whispersync of books.
In Canada, the 3G service is provided by Rogers. But to be honest, I find that I leave wireless turned off (all wireless, 3G and wifi) 99% of the time on my Kindle 3. It drains the battery, and I only need it when I want to buy a book, it's useless the rest of the time.
In hindsight, I would have bought the wifi, not the 3G.
Lord 666 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - link;)