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Amazon Makes $199 Android-based Kindle Fire Tablet

By - Source: Amazon | B 28 comments

If eInk isn't your thing, then Amazon's newest full-color Kindle might do it for you.

Rumors of an Amazon tablet have been rife for months and months. This morning, Amazon's Jeff Bezos confirmed that yes, the device does exist, and it will be going on sale November 15. Very much a member of the Kindle family (Kindle leads to Fire, get it?), the Fire looks a lot like the Kindle Touch we saw launched earlier on this morning. However, there are some notable differences. With a darker color, the body of the Fire is closer to the charcoal grey color of the old Kindle than the silvery-white hue we're seeing in the new Kindle and Kindle Touch models, and it's also got a 7-inch display instead of a 6-inch screen. Oh and by the way, the rumors regarding the display were true -- this is the first ever full-color Kindle.

The 7-inch full color LCD touchscreen means this Kindle can be used for more than just reading. Users can now use their Kindle to read books, magazines, watch TV and movies, and browse the web. The movies and TV content is provided by Amazon's own Amazon Instant Video service, where users can download, purchase or rent thousands of titles. In a particularly clever move, Amazon Prime users will get instant, unlimited, commercial-free streaming of over 11,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost. Even more clever, the Kindle Fire comes with one free month of Amazon Prime, which we imagine a lot of people will choose to extend once they've had a taste of all that free content. At $79 per year, the price works out at just under $6.60 per month. That kind of value is hard to resist.

Music comes from Amazon's Amazon MP3, which has a library of 17,000,000 songs that start at $0.69 per track or $7.99 per album. Apps come from Amazon's Android app store, while books are from the 1,000,0000-strong Kindle library. Amazon also has 100 graphic novels to start comic book lovers off on the right foot and hndreds of magazines and newspapers (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart Living to name a few) with full-color layouts, photographs, illustrations, built-in video, audio and other interactive features. Similar to the Amazon Prime scheme, Kindle Fire customers will get a free three-month trial to 17 Condé Nast magazines, including Vanity Fair, GQ and Glamour.

Content aside, this tablet can also be used to surf the web. To that end, Amazon has announced Amazon Silk, it's new cloud-accelerated web browser that divides the web browsing load between the dual-core Fire and the 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)," Amazon explained today. "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."

Preorders are starting today and the device is set to ship on November 15. Who's tempted?

For those who want eInk:

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  • 0 Hide
    a1b2c3 , September 28, 2011 4:50 PM
    Does this thing have a nice non-glare screen?
  • 5 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 28, 2011 4:58 PM
    Content is king, that Amazon content easily bests iTunes, even if the hardware doesn't.

    But we aint folding for cancer research, just how much hardware do you need to listen to music and watch movies?
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , September 28, 2011 4:59 PM
    a1b2c3Does this thing have a nice non-glare screen?

    Engadget has a photo up, and it looks like the screen is glossy, but that may just be the super bright flash (which even a matte screen will reflect).
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , September 28, 2011 5:00 PM
    back_by_demandContent is king, that Amazon content easily bests iTunes, even if the hardware doesn't.But we aint folding for cancer research, just how much hardware do you need to listen to music and watch movies?

    Movies needs some beef at even 720p.
  • -1 Hide
    southernshark , September 28, 2011 5:05 PM
    I may have to order one just for the price.
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 28, 2011 5:08 PM
    jacobdrjMovies needs some beef at even 720p.

    Agreed, but the resolution of thgis screen is 1024x600 and I haven't seen any indication that it needs to output by HDMI to an external display, so I reckon it will be OK.
  • -2 Hide
    torque79 , September 28, 2011 5:09 PM
    Might be nice if it can be rooted. What's the point in being railroaded into Amazon's own Android App store instead of the general Android market? I guess if you want to use nothing but Amazon apps/services this would accomplish that.
  • 2 Hide
    jecastej , September 28, 2011 5:15 PM
    7-inch color IPS display, dual core, It doesn't look like any Apple COPY, is 7 inch, 14.6 ounces, Android and for $199. This is the first tablet I really find interesting in price, features and because it comes from Amazon I expect this device not to feel or be a cheap build. Hopefully it comes with an antiglare treatment. This may be the reason for the Apple's 25% cut.

    I surely want to read a good review first, but way to go Amazon!
  • 0 Hide
    ikefu , September 28, 2011 5:30 PM
    The real questions is... if it can run Android Apps, can it run the NOOK app?
  • 3 Hide
    bender3000 , September 28, 2011 5:54 PM
    What about the rumors that claim this is nothing more than a Blackberry Playbook?
  • -1 Hide
    DSpider , September 28, 2011 6:21 PM
    Finally no home button! Was that so hard???

    Except it seems that the bottom edge is thicker than the top... They must've really used the BlackBerry template after all.
  • 0 Hide
    bystander , September 28, 2011 6:46 PM
    jacobdrjEngadget has a photo up, and it looks like the screen is glossy, but that may just be the super bright flash (which even a matte screen will reflect).


    I'm not sure the problem is matte vs gloss, but more about how the original kindles didn't get washed out in sunlight like most lcd screens do. They used a special type of screen that didn't get washed out in the sun.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2011 7:20 PM
    I read Kindle then I read fire than I though libricide and I clicked the link. :p 
  • 1 Hide
    sundragon , September 28, 2011 7:34 PM
    Bye Bye RIM - It's the same hardware for half the price... Shhh don't tell anyone!

    IMO, i's game over for Android 3 tablets and RIM... Apple still has a hold on $500 and up market but anything below is now Amazon's lunch... Considering what I've seen first hand honeycomb was half baked already... Google needs to drop Ice Cream Sandwich, land it properly and make sure it gets pushed to existing customers, not just new tablets.

    I know you all love Android, but they need to do better - less fragmentation, and do a better job with the Flavor of Android installed so rooting isn't a necessity.

    Thus far, I like iPad and I've had my hands on a few Honeycomb tablets to compare. The thing is competition is paramount and they are not doing enough... Apple will turn into the old M$ if there's no competition to keep it in check- sigh

  • 0 Hide
    ikefu , September 28, 2011 7:59 PM
    How easy will the Fire be to jailbreak? Amazon looks to want to lock it down pretty hard core (no Hulu, Netflix, Nook, etc., only Amazon Prime streaming).

    Locked down that tight won't satisfy me. Open it up so I can run any and all Android Apps and I might bite, though I still want a 10" screen since 7" doesn't feel like a big enough jump over my 4.3" phone.

    I'm in the market for a tablet, but the locked down nature gives me pause above all else on the fire. I'd like to avoid Apple if at all possible. I'm starting to think waiting for a Windows 8 tablet might be the way to go if Microsoft can keep its act together like it seems to be trying to do. But then again, it is Microsoft. Here's to hoping I guess
  • 4 Hide
    Thunderfox , September 28, 2011 8:26 PM
    So, how long til Apple sues them?

    "Your honor, the iPad has a color screen and can be used to read books as well. Clearly our patents have been violated."
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , September 28, 2011 8:58 PM
    ThunderfoxSo, how long til Apple sues them?"Your honor, the iPad has a color screen and can be used to read books as well. Clearly our patents have been violated."

    Gene Roddenberry would be rolling in his grave if Apple did that...
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , September 28, 2011 10:19 PM
    I think its time to finally get a Kindle. A KF that is.
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , September 29, 2011 2:30 AM
    issues: it relies too much on the cloud, meaning like with the prime service, Amazon can lock you into paying a monthly/ yearly fee for the cloud services, and who knows, they may even require you to purchase the prime service to use your web browser since it is designed around using amazon servers to handle some of the processing (may be like skyfire or opera mini)

    Has anyone questioned how much amazon links to their prime service? Their various other features use the cloud and require amazon prime. What if the web browser also requires amazon prime and without it it wont have access to the cloud, and just like skyfire, it wont be able to surf the web, and if they limit your ability to download other browsers then you have a device that now cost you $80 a year to run.

    Kinda like how a $200 iphone ends up costing you $2400 within 2 years.
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , September 29, 2011 3:15 AM
    This looks like a promising product, maybe a low cost alternative to iPad and Galaxy Tab.
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