When we posted our story about Amazon’s upcoming press conference on the 24th, there was no way to know the coup d’état that the media giant had planned. The fact that Amazon was launching a tablet of some kind was a known quantity, but few could have guessed that they’d be launching three distinct Kindle products that suitably challenge multiple competitive devices.
The tablet is named the Kindle Fire and was indeed announced to be a 7″ Android-based tablet tightly tied into Amazon services, as was widely rumored. Beyond that, the display is actually an IPS model, which is the same low-power, wide viewing angle technology found in products like the iPhone and iPad. The app delivery system is the Amazon Android App Store, meaning that users will have access to an established library of tested apps with a free app available every day. Amazon has also added their Whispersync functionality to videos, allowing users to stop watching a video at any point on any device and pick it back up on the Fire. Finally, the Fire will integrate “Amazon Silk” into its browser, which harnesses Amazon’s EC2 servers to allow for prefetching of website elements to speed the browsing experience.
Kindle Fire feature list
The tablet will be priced at a competitive $199, which not only challenges the value proposition of higher-priced tablets but also hopes to address users whose primary interest in this class of device is consumption. Not only that, but the Kindle Fire promises to disrupt an Android ecosystem that demands licensing/royalties for the Honeycomb version though still has yet to gain major traction. The Fire isn’t the only disruptive Kindle to be announced at this conference, however, as the latest Kindle iteration and wholly new Kindle Touch offer another tempting aspect of the Amazon experience.
The new Kindle isn’t too different from the Kindle 3 functionally, ditching the physical keyboard for a physical one and consequently shaving the device’s footprint by 18% and weight by 30%. The biggest difference is easily price – $79 for the version with Amazon’s “special offers” and $109 for the version without. No doubt this will make a killer stocking stuffer during the holiday season, as the price easily dips below impulse territory for consumers. The last new Kindle model is the Kindle Touch, which augments the E Ink screen with multitouch and offers a global free 3G model. Both the Wi-Fi and 3G + WiFi versions will have cheaper “special offers” models, whose prices can be found below -
Kindle line-up pricing matrix
Amazon has accomplished no small task with their press conference. Not only will they be offering one of the most compelling tablets on the market in their first attempt, but they’ll surely continue to dominate the E Ink-based e-Reader competition with highly appealing prices. It’ll surely be interesting to see how competitors react, as the price tags of the Apple iPad ($499 base), Barnes & Noble Nook Color ($249), and Sony Reader Touch Edition ($229) sorely need revision.
Source: Amazon, This is my next | Image: Matt Braga