Kindle Fire Changes The Tablet Landscape
Amazon has entered the tablet arena with the Kindle Fire. I already was a fan of Amazonís Kindle e-reader, but I wasnít expecting it to be competitive with Appleís iPads, like most other tablets. But the Kindle Fire surprised me. In fact, itís a game-changer.
First, take a look at the specs. The Kindle Fire has a 7-in. touchscreen that Amazon calls an in-plane switching (IPS) display. It also boasts 1024- by 600-pixel resolution with 16 million colors. And, the screen has an anti-reflective treatment.
Next, the Kindle Fire measures 7.5 by 4.7 by 0.45 in. and weighs 14.6 oz, so itís small and light (see the figure). It also has a dual-core processor and built-in Wi-Fi. I/O is via a USB 2.0 micro-B connector and a 3.5-mm stereo audio jack. And, it has two stereo speakers.
As for memory, 8 Gbytes is included. Thatís enough to store 80 apps, 10 movies, 800 songs, or 6000 books. But the big feature is free cloud storage for all the Amazon content you use.
It appears that the Kindle Fire was designed primarily for content consumption: songs, books, magazines and newspapers, TV shows, movies, and anything else Amazon sells. But it does have a full browser, so it can access the Internet and manage e-mail via the Wi-Fi connection. No cellular wireless option is available.
The Kindle Fireís Silk browser is a variant of Googleís Android. Amazon calls it a cloud-accelerated browser that uses a split architecture to put part of the browser on the servers and part on the Fire. The goal is to improve on the speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud. It supports Adobe Flash Player as well.
The Silk browser lets you access Amazonís massive server base, which comprises what Amazon calls the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Silk dynamically determines a division of labor between the Kindle Fire and the cloud and optimizes the network connection based on the content being accessed.
The Kindle Fire is a hot product and its price of $199 will make it a big hit. I donít think itís an iPad killer, but for many folks waiting to see what other tablets come forth, the Kindle Fire may be it. The price alone will bring millions of sales to Amazon.
If your main goal is content consumption plus occasional Web and e-mail accesses, the Kindle Fire is all you need. My prediction is that it wonít hurt Apple too much but it will really put a dent in the sales of other competitive tablets. Now if we could only get a look inside.
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