Amazon.com is set to make their new $199 Kindle Fire tablet available in Australia at a price that is less than half of Apple’s iPad.According to Amazon.com’s, CEO Jeff Bezos, the Kindle Fire tablet computer will challenge Apple’s dominant iPad. The device could also be made available via Dick Smith and Big W who are currently selling the Amazon Kindle.
The 7″ Fire tablet–priced at $199 runs the Android operating system but to get the price down Amazon has stripped several features out of the device vs. what is currently on offer from the likes of Toshiba, Motorola and Acer who are selling 10″ version of an Android Tablet for over $450.
The new device can access Amazon’s app store and stream movies and TV shows however the entertainment service to Australia could be restricted until late in 2012 due to cross border rights to movies. While the device contains only 8 gigabytes of internal storage, Amazon expects users to predominantly access their media through the Internet, taking advantage of unlimited free storage on Amazon’s network.
Amazon said the Kindle Fire will have access to 100,000 movies and TV shows, 17 million songs, Kindle books and “hundreds” of magazines and newspapers.
Missing are front and rear camera’s with Amazon claiming that most consumers will use their Smartphone to shoot images and then uplift them to the Internet and free Amazon storage files.
“We asked ourselves, ‘Is there some way we can bring all of these things together [web, movies, apps, books and games] into a remarkable product offering customers would love?'” Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said at the company’s launch event in New York City. “Yes, the answer is Amazon Kindle Fire.”
One new feature us the introduction of Amazon Silk – a radical new cloud accelerated browser.
The Kindle Fire 7-inch IPS LCD display comes with a gorilla glass coating and 16 million colours. This is the same toughened glass found in several all-weather Smartphones.
Gorilla Glass, which is made by Corning and is 30 times tougher then plastic, delivers 169 pixels per inch (ppi) – that’s more than the 132ppi iPad 2 display.
The processor is a Texas Instruments ARM-based dual-core OMAP CPU, this will power a special 2.1 Amazon version of Google’s Android OS. The device also comes with multi-tasking and a new Amazon Silk browser that uses Amazon’s EC2 computer cluster that allows Amazon to employ huge processing power (compression) to reduce bandwidth demand on the device.
Also included is a tablet-optimised shopping app on board that simplifies and streamlines pages when making purchases from the Amazon web site which is extremely popular in Australia.
The new Kindle Fire will have Wi-Fi, but no 3G. There are no physical controls on the front of the device – everything is touch-based.
There’s full integration with Amazon’s Whispersync technology. As you read a book on any Kindle device or app, your current place is synchronised across all your devices.
The weight of the Kindle Fire is 413g. Amazon says that Kindle Fire is “small and light enough to hold in just one hand and carry everywhere you go”.
There will also be free Amazon Cloud Storage. This means you’ll be able to start a movie on Kindle Fire and transfer it to your TV.
“Amazon has an advantage that other tablet manufacturers don’t in that millions of people already visit its site on a regular basis,” said Ken Sena, an analyst who covers Amazon for Evercore Partners. He added that those consumers will be regularly exposed to advertisements for the device.
“It certainly creates a competitor to the iPad,” Mr Sena said.
Analysts speculate that Amazon won’t be making much, if any, money from the Fire but instead will benefit from the sale of books, movies and other media through its digital store. The tablet will have access to more than 100,000 movies and TV shows; 17 million songs; 1 million books and hundreds of newspapers and magazines.