Amazon Kindle Fire

There it is, folks. The Amazon Kindle Fire. Looking a little more like an e-reader than a tablet -- though it certainly does resemble the BlackBerry PlayBook on which it's based -- the Kindle Fire's getting its official announcement this morning in New  York. The 7-inch device will run a version of Android, but don't expect it to look or feel like a top-shelf tablet.

Price, however, may be its killer feature. At just $199, it pretty much undercuts everything available today, including the highly popular Barnes & Noble NOOK Color.

It'll ship Nov. 15.

Specs include:

  • 14.6 ounces
  • 7-inch IPS display at 1024x600
  • Gorilla Glass
  • 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor
  • Wifi-only
  • Whispersync
  • Amazon Silk browser
  • WiFi, no 3G option
  • 8GB of on-board storage

Source: Bloomberg
More: Amazon Kindle Fire Forums

 

Reader comments

Amazon Kindle Fire official at $199, ships Nov. 15

84 Comments

Certainly not an iPad killer, but it will bring a lot more people in the Tablet way doing things. I think Amazon will have a hit on it's hands despite the low tier specs, because the price point is reachable for the curious.

low tier specs? dual core. 1024x600 at 7 inch. thats not low tier. mid maybe only because the screen "size". but dual core 1ghz is what tabs are at right now

Congrats Amazon. I was prepared to be unimpressed based on the preliminary specs. But for $199, I can live without a lot of bells and whistles.

Not only are the bells and wistles missing, but this device finally broke Amazon addiction to physical keyboards.

Now if it just supports sideloading, and epub, and library borrowing it will be great.

Well according to the specs on Amazon's pre order site, this is what it will support: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8

So I assume that it can handle all that by either uploading it all to the cloud or be bale to plug it into a PC using the USB port on it.

Ah, good info. (Why didn't the article above point this out instead of telling us TWICE that it was a wifi device).

Still Amazon: Stop fearing the epub. The rest of the Ereader world can't be all wrong.

No epub, but easy to convert to mobi which it does support. And, did you miss all the recent library borrowing announcements?

I am seriously thinking about picking one of these up for my daughter for Christmas. She loves reading on my Galaxy Tab 10.1, but she doesn't really need a full fledged tablet. This just might work. I will have to wait to see the specs and the app selection before I decide.

Pretty sure I read it's running a locked version of Android 2.1 ... not so impressed by that.

Doesn't matter that much. It can hopefully be completely replaced with a stock build of Android or some Cyanogen. And even if it can't, once rooted you can probably sideload any apps you can get a hold of.

I don't get these day when all these corporations make a big hoopla and hype over something that could just have been a press release. All the 'hype' around this and I will have to say is underwhelming. It is just another e-reader. While a nice looking e-reader but will have to wait to see the specs. I am perfectly happy with my B&N Nook 2. It is light, small, swipe gestures and really easy to use. It also has the dictionary when long press on a word, also suggest next book titles for me to read and uses the pearl ink that has minimal flash during page turns.

Besides, the $199 cheap pricing means that some poor kid in a sweat shop is producing it for our enjoyment and I rather know that at least with the slighter higher they get $.25 verses the $.10 per hour. Or I hope so....

I like your last point. We don't often consider these things... we want the newest gear at insane prices, but fail to consider the consequences.

The point is valid... but not one to be selectively leveled against Amazon. What are you wearing? What did you use to type your reply? What kind of television do you own? Coffee maker? Underwear?

You can bet the nook color is made with the same ethical standards as everything else - i.e. sweatshop labor. Maybe not an actual dimly-lit sweatshop in Vietnam full of kids with sweaty faces and fans lazily rotating on the ceiling, but relative to your lifestyle, the conditions are poor. To use that as a criticism of a tablet from a company you don't like while continuing to support other companies who operate in the same manner is cherry-picking silliness.

this isnt aimed at people who are spec whores and like to tinker etc etc...this is aimed at current kindle owners who like to read but maybe want to do abit more with there kindle which is a smart move...all those people saying its rubbish etc etc well they are not targeting you...

I'm pretty sure a sweatshop laborer doesn't get paid more to make a $500 tablet vs. a $200 tablet. It's just components on a board either way.

Well, first it is hardly sweatshop labor, regardless of the sensationalized stuff you read in the press. The living conditions are not all that terrible by Chinese standards, and far better than the rural farm life from which they recruit. Most workers are at least 18, they just look younger to us.

Second, knock off tablet makers often do pay dramatically less than companies with brand name devices. (Not sure where Amazon has theirs built). B&N were having theirs built in some of the same plants as Apple. Virtually all board components are soldered by machines, and only final assembly is done by hand. Most workers simply feed the machines.

China is cracking down on the old sweatshop image, so much so that Apple is moving much of its production to Brazil where they can own the plants and pay the government to look the other way.

I have a rooted NC,(paid $50.00 for it) and an unrooted version I use for actual reading. NC's use the much more popular and widely adopted ePub file format for books, and Amazon uses their proprietary .mobi format. That alone is what prevents me, with over 400 books from ever buying a Kindle. Sony, B&N, and the other big ones all use ePub. Amazon is the equivelant of going to your local library, but when you sign up for a card you're told you can only read books from that library, forever, and the books are in a different language. Yes, there is software to convert books for free, but the formatting changes usually.

Just a note on .mobi format. You can use the free program "calibre" on the mac to convert from and to most any formats including .mobi. I have converted many books so they work on both my android tablet and my wifes ipad.

I have also, but the formatting is usually off a little, and it slaps the CALIBRE cover on the book instead of the original book cover.

Exactly.

It will search the web for metadata, including synopsis, Cover art, etc. You can even change the Metadata for some books that are DRM protected.

Calibre (Windows, Mac, and Linux) will also manage all your books for you, even the DRM ones. Calibre won't Convert the DRM books (normally, anyway) but you can use it to catalog and manage your purchases.

There are options for changing up the formatting. It's all along the sidebar of the 'convert' page. You can mess with the margins, paragraph indents, table of contents, etc. There's also a 'search and replace' option.

Personally, the only format I've ever had trouble converting is PDF. Sometimes the quotation marks are wonky, and sometimes whichever font the PDF maker used makes double 'l's into one character, so that when you convert and it makes it two, you end up seeing 'real y' instead of 'really'.

I download most of my books from 'different' sources, ahem, and to be honest, changing formats is quick and not time-consuming at all. Calibre is probably the best program I've ever downloaded.

calibre also has a Pc version, and why would your wifes ipad need any different format from your android tablet? or are you saying you converted amazons mobi for easier reading on both (instead of using the kindle app?)

Perhaps because having to remember which reader to use to read any given book is a huge pain. You can never even know if you have a book in your inventory without searching two or three ereaders.

Just as an asside, the LumiRead ereader that came with the Acer is a very nice ereader. Even puts Kindle reader to shame. I'll never forgive Amazon for buying Stanza and pretty much shutting it down.

I don't think they are different formats. The books i got are in different formats. I converted them so they would all be the same.

Watching the liveblog over at thisismynext, the Kindle Fire looks pretty damn amazing. The nook color is a year old, so direct comparisons aren't really appropriate, but it's safe to say the Kindle Fire blows the doors off the nook color. Will be interesting to see what the nook color2 looks like when it's unveiled later this year.

I've had a Nook Color for almost a year - rooted and running CM7 - but have to admit the dual core processor and IPS screen combined with Amazon support could make this a strong competitor, particularly at this price. If you were in market for a 7 inch tab to use strictly for web surfing and ereading, this would fill the ticket nicely. You don't need a quad core processor and ICS for that.

Biggest downside is lack of full market access. Also curious how much email and other capability they have left intact.

I'd consider getting a tablet at this price. I'd even pay $250 if they added a front camera to it. If/when that happens I will probably order one up.

Amazon may release a Kindle Fire 2 with a camera next year.

FYI, this tablet is locked (until it is rooted) so you only get the Amazon Appstore.

Lenovo A1
http://www.androidcentral.com/lenovo-ideapad-a1?style_mobile=0
It might not have dual core, but it will have front/rear cameras, it will have both a microSD AND Full SD slot for adding a lot of additional storage. Gingerbread, probably ICS if the code is released and cyanogenmod gets a hold of it. Unfortunately it looks like we won't be able to get the 8gb for $199, but $249 for a 16gb version and everything else I would say this will be a winner.

Why? The allure of the Fire is the Amazon customizations. There are probably much better tablet options out there to hack on.

Huh? Why would you want ICS on a tablet with no camera, no GPS, probably no bluetooth??

If you want an ICS ROM, you need to look elsewhere.

Everything in ICS is going to be hardware accelerated. That means that it is going to have iOS-like smoothness. If you notice, the four standard Android buttons are missing and it has an T.I. OMAP processor which is the chip-set of choice for ICS. Google also said that ICS devices were meant to be buttonless. These two things should leave you to believe that this device will be running ICS once Amazon uses the released source code to customize it.

Ain't gonna happen. Amazon forked this at Eclair and customized it to optimize it for their primary market - ereaders. There's no reason for them to invest effort to put ICS on this tablet.

Does anyone know if this can handle Flash based webpages? I only ask as early rumors were that this operating system was based on eclair - which was the pre-Flash based Android system.

Maybe this isn't a big deal anymore but I remember being blocked from 20% of the websites back during the pre-froyo years.

Anyone here remember Microsoft Deepfish from back in the WinMo days? Skyfire is also relevant to this topic - the Kindle Fire's browser seems like it'll work similar to the above browsers. In other words, most of the rendering will be done on an amazon server with eight cores and 64GB of RAM and you'll see a very small, light version of the page that will load very quickly on the Fire. The browser is called "Amazon Silk." So any concerns with Android's stock browser probably won't be relevant, although I haven't seen anything mentioning how flash/embedded content will work.

I have a CM7 Nook Color and I love it. It is everything I need and I never feel wanting. (I don't need to video chat on my WiFi tablet device). I really like the looks of this and the one thing that I think makes it better than MY Nook Color is the access to Amazon's Streaming Videos. Couple this device with an Amazon Prime Membership (and a Revue maybe) and it could be really nice for its price. I am also a big fan of the 7in size.

I think this will probably be a hit. The Kindle/mobi format is available at lots of different sites, so you're not locked in to buying only from Amazon. Plus, they just added library ebook support. Tie that in to a very good price, and most people won't know the difference between this and the $500+ tablets seen elsewhere.

It won't be an iPad killer, but it may be enough to make people look twice.

Agreed. This isn't targeting the iPad - it's aimed squarely at the Nook Color. With these specs and pricing and ease of purchase on Amazon, I think B&N is going down.

I'm a NC owner and love it, but I think Amazon has a hit with this.

This will be a hit for sure! Amazon already has a strong customer base. This might not appeal to the geek types, but to the Amazon faithful; they will soak this up.

The Kindle name is already easily recognizable, as is the fact that Amazon has millions of credit card accounts already on file. Amazon's faithful have been asking for a color Kindle since the original Kindle was introduced, and many of those customers will be using this as their opportunity to upgrade their devices.

It's right in time for the Christmas season, and at this price point many will be buying these as gifts for family and friends.

Very cool. Free Amazon Prime is just the icing on this tablet.
If it's rootable so you can put Honeycomb on it for development of regular apps, I'm in...would love to have gotten the 10" they had planned though...

Free Amazon Prime for one MONTH. (Only to new Prime customers). Then its back on the $80/year bandwagon.

If you buy a lot of movies from Amazon it might be worth it. But who DOES that?

Well that's stupid. All the info I read so far was free Prime for a year....what's the point for a month? :-P

No external storage SD card support also kills it for me :-(

Can't wait to see this thing get hacked wide open....if it is possible. If there is one thing we've learned, it is almost always possible as long as motorola didn't build it. For $199, gorilla glass, and a faster processor than my nook color, My wife will be getting herself a nook color if this can be rooted just the same. There is nothing better than watching MLB at bat on the nook. Location spoofer + mlb at bat = watching Phillies in my back yard while babysitting! Woo Hoo!

Can't wait to see this thing get hacked wide open....if it is possible. If there is one thing we've learned, it is almost always possible as long as motorola didn't build it. For $199, gorilla glass, and a faster processor than my nook color, My wife will be getting herself a nook color if this can be rooted just the same. There is nothing better than watching MLB at bat on the nook. Location spoofer + mlb at bat = watching Phillies in my back yard while babysitting! Woo Hoo!

True, there is no memory card slot on it, but it has 8 gigs of storage on it. It will likely mount as a USB drive to your computer and you can drag and drop your files (movies, music, documents) to it as needed.

Copied from Amazons website.

8GB internal. That's enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.

Another question I have is "How is the 8GB of user space partitioned?" The Nook Color only gives you 1GB for sideloading in internal memory, but takes a 32GB SD card which gives you 33GB of user space. The other 7GB is for downloaded content from B&N.

Android Central's Department of Data Redundancy Department wanted you to be sure to notice its WIFI only.

Amazon got kicked in the nutz by the Nook Color. So the question is how do you make the Nook cry from here on out?

You make a better speced tablet at a cheaper price, give it a real market place, make it look like a tablet that you would buy for $400, and make it developer friendly.

Mary Jane even says "Now that's some FIRE".

This at $299 wouldn't be half as impressive. Amazon's making a smart play here imo to get people to buy (nearly at cost) an Amazon product consuming machine.

This is very tempting. I hope this results in the Nook and the lower-end tablet makers begin a race to the bottom for price.

With Amazon's established Kindle base, evolving ecosystem, and this price point it will fly off the shelves.

No microphone, or expandable storage means its not for me, but none the less, a winner. And Amazon's ecosystem is a huge reason why.

I don't think many people get this. This goes in hand with Prime membership. You can not beat that. Most don't know they have between 3 and 5 million Prime members and its growing at around 24 percent a year. This will be number one seller on Amazon.

"Amazon sells more than 1 million e-books, 100,000 movies and TV shows, and 17 million songs. It hopes it will succeed where other companies have failed because the tablet is designed to tap into Amazon's massive storehouse of media content"

"The reason they haven't been successful is because they made tablets. They didn't make services," CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview."

Many Analysts think Amazon will sell 3 to 5 million sold by the end of year.

Ipad killer? No. I don't think it's going after that market. It will succeed where the Xoom failed. It's a decent tablet with a great price point. I think what Amazon is doing is brilliant. Think of all the kids who've begged their parents for Ipad, but the parents couldn't afford it. All kids want to do is play angry birds. It is a cheaper alternative to the Ipad. I think Amazon will sell millions of these.

Christian
kindlejunkies.com