The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
Today Amazon announced a slew of new Kindle hardware, and we covered it all extensively. We wanted to make sure you knew where to find the details on each new device, as well as how to order (or pre-order, depending on the device you want) the new goods as well. Here's what went down today:
In addition to all that new hardware, the company also announced its new Amazon Silk web browser.
Alongside all the Kindle news this morning, Amazon also announced their own home-grown browser, Silk. Amazon Silk will be exclusive to the Kindle Fire for the time being, and it aims to speed up web browsing by a significant margin by offloading some of the heavy lifting to the Amazon EC2 cloud servers. Hit the video above to see how it all works, and why we're drooling with anticipation for Silk to hit the desktop.
That Amazon tablet we've been waiting on for months has finally arrived, and it's called the Kindle Fire. Amazon's looking to disrupt the tablet landscape with the Fire, and is pricing it aggressively at $199. So, what do you get for your money? Well, the Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and packs a 7-inch IPS display with Gorilla Glass protection, dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB of on-board storage. It runs a forked version of Android that Amazon has prettied up in a major way, customizing and optimizing it to take advantage of Amazon's various services. The Fire also has Wi-Fi built-in, but lacks a 3G option, camera, and microphone.
Purchasers of the Kindle Fire also get a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which'll let you get a nice sampling of what the company's Video on Demand service offers. Other services you can access from the Fire include Amazon's Android Appstore, Kindle books, a host of magazines, Cloud Drive, Cloud Player, and the Amazon MP3 service. One nice feature is that WhisperSync, the technology that let you continue reading Kindle books from where you left off across multiple devices, now works with movies and TV shows. In other words, you can start a show on your Kindle Fire, and continue where you left off on your television. Another big feature is the inclusion of the Amazon Silk web browser, which does all the web processings on Amazon's EC2 servers, greatly speeding up the browsing experience.
You can pre-order a Kindle Fire now, and it'll ship on November 15th - check out the commercial after the break.