Robert Chesley

Amazon Announces Kindle Fire

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In an event held yesterday, Amazon announced it’s long awaited entrance into the tablet computing ring with the Kindle Fire.

From the official product description:

Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser
18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
Amazon Appstore – thousands of popular apps and games
Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk
Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle
Fast, powerful dual-core processor
Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows

Technical Details

Display 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
Size (in inches) 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
Weight 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
System Requirements None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer.
On-device Storage 8GB internal. That’s enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Battery Life Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.
Charge Time Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
USB Port USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
Audio 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
Documentation Quick Start Guide(included in box); Kindle User’s Guide (pre-installed on device)
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Kindle is subject to the terms found here.
Included in the Box Kindle Fire device, U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V), and Quick Start Guide.

There has been a lot of talk of how it compares with the iPad 2. Well, for all intents and purposes, it really doesn’t compare at all. There are no cameras, no GPS, not even a 3G option for those inclined. If you are looking for an Android alternative to Apple’s premier device, you won’t find it here.

That being said, there are a lot that is here that Apple can’t touch. First, the price. $199 is a terrific price point for what this device can actually do. I’ve been looking to get into the mobile computing tablet market for a while. I just couldn’t get over how expensive they are. $200 is about the same price as my Nintendo DS when I purchased it. This does what I want from a tablet device. It surfs the web, plays Amazon cloud music, streams video (though not Netflix however), and plays tablet games. The most exciting feature for me is the ability to read comic books on a digital device. It is one of my main gripes I’ve had with my Kindle. It isn’t color and doesn’t really display comics that well or really at all. For $199 the thought of having a device that can take up a lot less space than all my graphic novels and comic books becomes very appealing. I’m also a huge fan of Amazon’s cloud products.

I’ve also been a huge fan of their android app marketplace. I buy most of my apps almost exclusively through them now.

It is exciting to finally have a device that most consumers can get their hands on. Let’s face it, a $499 entry level iPad is pretty daunting for most casual users (or even pretend “power” users), but with Amazon’s huge built-in audience, this may have a lot more legs than people are giving them credit for.

You can Pre-order Here.

In other Amazon news, they also announced a Kindle Touch. Which works just like any other typical Kindle except it does not have the keyboard, it sells for between $99 and $149. Another Kindle was announced that has a slightly smaller screen but a huge price drop, only $80. At that price, no one really has an excuse not to have a great e-reader.

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