Amazon has launched its keenly-anticipated new tablet – the Kindle Fire – igniting excitement in media and book-publishing circles.
“Kindle Fire puts Amazon’s incredible selection of digital content at your fingertips,” crowed the online giant, preening itself and touting the goodies that users will be able to enjoy with the new device – access to over 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, graphic novels, comic books, newspapers plus all the most popular Android apps and games. At $199, it’s way cheaper than its main rival the iPad.
“What we are doing is offering premium products at non- premium prices,” said Amazon.com founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos at the unveiling of the Kindle Fire. “We don’t think of the Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service,” he added.
Like other Kindle e-readers, the Kindle Fire comes automatically pre-registered to users Amazon.com accounts so that you can start accessing your digital content immediately after purchasing it from Amazon or to shop for new content.
It has a 7-inch full color LCD touchscreen that, according to an Amazon press release, delivers 16 million colors in high resolution and 169 pixels per inch.
“Kindle Fire uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology – similar technology as used on the iPad, for an extra-wide viewing angle – perfect for sharing your screen with others. The display is chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, which means it is incredibly durable and will stand up to accidental bumps and scrapes,” said Amazon.
The device offers free storage for all your Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. Amazon digital content is automatically backed up in Amazon’s Cloud- Archive where it’s available for re-downloading.
The Kindle Fire’s super-fast web browser ‘Amazon Silk’ runs on Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing engine. The Silk browser software resides both on Kindle Fire and on the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).
“We refactored and rebuilt the browser software stack and now push pieces of the computation into the AWS cloud,” said Bezos. “When you use Silk – without thinking about it or doing anything explicit – you’re calling on the raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2 to accelerate your web browsing.”
The Kindle Fire also uses Amazon’s Whispersync technology to automatically synchronize your Kindle library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across the widest range of devices and platforms.
Watch the Kindle Fire on CNET TV.
Amazon also launched three new versions of the Kindle e-reader – the New Generation Kindle, the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G.
At 5.98 ounces the New Generation Kindle Wi-Fi 6 is “30 percent lighter” and “18 percent smaller,” and turns pages “10 percent faster.” It has a 6-inch screen and electronic ink display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight. It costs $79.
The Kindle Touch Wi-Fi 6 is also lighter and smaller, reportedly with “extra-long” battery life, advanced electronic ink display and a touch screen that makes it easier to turn pages, search, shop, and take notes. It costs $99.
The Kindle Touch 3G offers the same new design and features of the Kindle Touch along with free 3G connection, which allows you to download and read books in over 100 countries around the world. It costs $149.
For now the Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Fire are available only to customers in the U.S. for pre-order. It ships November 21. www.amazon.com/kindletouch