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: