We’d heard reports that the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet would look alarmingly like RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, sharing as they do the same white label manufacturer, and now it’s official, it seems the leaks were spot on. This is an Android tablet with a difference: a low price tag subsidised by Amazon’s other services, and no Google apps support. Will it fare better than RIM’s effort? Read on for all the details.
On the hardware front, the Amazon Kindle Fire won’t turn heads: Wi-Fi (No 3G), 8GB of internal flash memory, a 413g plastic body and a 7-inch IPS display are nothing new. Nor is the quoted eight hour battery life or unspecified dual-core processor, though the lack of any physical buttons (other than a power key) is an unusual twist.
What could really set the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet apart is its integration with Amazon’s web services. At its core it runs Android, but it’s been modded heavily for media consumption, and comes with a browser called Kindle Silk, which uses server side processing in the same way Skyfire and Opera Mini do on mobiles to speed up surfing, and could make the likes of Google and Apple think twice about whether they can afford to not do the same.
The Android Amazon Appstore is of course included, and it relies heavily on Amazon Cloud Storage to stash all your e-purchases. Whispersync now also works with video as well as e-books, so you can continue watching a show on a TV (With Amazon Prime) that you had been snaffling on your Kindle Fire tablet on the train home.
The only major downers we’re seeing are the lack of Android Market access (expect immediate hacks), and the Amazon Prime free delivery subscription that had been rumoured was to be thrown in is in fact a mere 30 day trial. Oh well.
Right now, only Amazon.com is giving price and ETA for the Kindle Fire: $199 (Just £127) and a 15 November shipping date. Compared to $365 for the cheapest PlayBook, that’s an absolute steal. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to ship to over to the UK, and we’ll update if we get any more word Amazon.co.uk itself.
UPDATE: It’s official, the Kindle Fire is US only for the timebeing. Bah.
Out TBC | £TBC | Amazon