Amazon has revealed its much-anticipated tablet device. It's called the Kindle Fire and it's only $199.
It has a 7" multi-touch LCD display, and has no camera or mic. It's Wi-fi only. It weighs 14.6 oz. It has a dual-core processor. The product doesn't seem to be blowing many people away in terms of features. Clearly, it's got less to offer than the iPad, but that $199 price tag and the Amazon and Kindle brands could go a long way. It's drawing a lot of comparisons to the BlackBerry Playbook. Hat tip to Engadget for liveblogging the unveiling.
It's built on Android, but Amazon's own version of it (remember, the operating system is open source).
It comes with apps from Amazon's Android store as long as Kindle, Amazon MP3 and Amazon Prime video content. In fact, the tablet will launch with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, which could help the boost the company's efforts in Netflix competition.
The Kindle Fire comes with a new web browser from Amazon called Silk. Here's the official description:
The Kindle Fire web browser Amazon Silk introduces a radical new paradigm - a "split browser" architecture that accelerates the power of the mobile device hardware by using the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services Cloud. The Silk browser software resides both on Kindle Fire and on the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). With each page request, Silk dynamically determines a division of labor between the mobile hardware and Amazon EC2 (i.e. which browser sub-components run where) that takes into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity, and cached content. The result is a faster web browsing experience, and it's available exclusively on Kindle Fire.
Amazon also announced the Kindle Touch, a smaller, lighter Kindle with a touch screen and no keyboard. There's a feature called "X Ray," which points users to different content about what they're reading. For example, "Versailles Treaty" in the book Remains of the Day, could bring up a Wikipedia entry. It's supposed to have good batter life, and ti costs $99. There's also a 3G version for $149. It will start shipping on November 21, in time for the holidays, but pre-orders will be available today.
Amazon also announced a new $79 version of the Kindle. It's not touch, but it also doesn't have a keyboard. Just buttons. This one is available today.
Let's not forget that Amazon is using its Kindle devices to help along its daily deals product AmazonLocal as well. The success of these devices has pretty big implications for the company.