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Amazon Shakes Up the Tablet Market with New 7-inch "Fire" and Releases New Kindles Too

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 3:22 PM by Scott Jentsch

In one of the worst-kept secrets in recent technology history, Amazon today announced that they will be releasing a 7-inch Tablet device called the "Kindle Fire" as well as two entry-level models in the Kindle e-reader product line.

The New Amazon Kindles and Amazon Fire

The two new black-and-white Kindles are notable because they lowered the price of admission for an e-reader below the magic $100 number. A touch-screen version is $99 and one with real buttons is only $79. Since these are e-readers, and they don't have much to do with movies (except for reading books upon which many movies are based), feel free to visit Amazon's product pages for more information:

The real news here for movie fans is the new color touchscreen Kindle Fire, which is going to be taking on the iPad from Apple with a vengeance. It's a little smaller (7" screen vs. 9.7" on the iPad), it's a little lighter (just 14 ounces vs. 21 ounces), and most importantly, quite a bit cheaper! At just under $200, it's a real bargain for those who can't justify the $500 price tag of the cheapest iPad 2.

There are technical differences, like the lack of any cameras or a microphone, as well as platform differences, as the Fire runs on the Android operating system. This can be seen as a positive or a negative depending on your perspective. Android is the scrappy up and comer to the more established iOS platform that runs on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices from Apple. Many tablets have come before running Android, but for one reason or another, have never been a contender to take on the iPad for more than a few mentions in a pundit's blog or analyst's report.

Amazon brings something new to the table in every aspect that sets the Fire apart from all the other Android-based tablets. The low price is one, which is definitely going to attract the attention of a lot of people. More importantly, however, is that Amazon has created an eco-system that should give buyers a more functional device and more useful experience.

Want to browse the web? It's there. Want to read a book? Amazon has over one million titles for sale, with most of them priced at less than $10. Two million more free books are also available. Full-color magazines are also available. Want to listen to music? There's 17 million songs from which to choose in their MP3 store, plus you can play your own music that you can load onto the device or on Amazon's cloud-based storage service.

Want apps for your new Kindle Fire? Amazon's Android Appstore has lots of apps that they say they have tested on the Fire to make sure that they work well.

But we're here to watch movies, right? The good news is that Amazon has you covered there as well! Over the years, Amazon has been slowly building their electronic collection of TV shows and movies, which can be purchased or rented, streamed or downloaded. Plus, Amazon Prime members have access to more than 10,000 streaming titles included in their membership.

The Kindle Fire was just announced today, so detailed reviews should be coming in the weeks leading up to the product's availability on November 15, 2011. It's exciting news! Not just for the price and not just for the device's potential. The real excitement is that we may finally have a real competitor to the iPad, and competition is always a good thing. We're looking forward to giving the Amazon Kindle Fire a closer look!

For more details, check out the product page on Amazon's web site:

Disclaimer: We receive a small commission on every sale through links on this site to Amazon.com. That doesn't change the fact that we're looking forward to the Kindle Fire entering the marketplace.

What Do You Think?

Does the Kindle Fire have what it takes to be a contender, or will it be an also-ran, sharing the room with dozens of other Android tablets with hopes of greatness but lacking the skills necessary? Are you planning to buy one?



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Nov 14, 2011 - Ron Higgins VIP Member

A pretty extensive product review: http://www.wired.com/reviews/2011/11/kindle-fire/all/1 

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