Amazon unveiled its tablet computer, the $199 Android-based Kindle Fire, today during a Manhattan launch event.
The Wi-Fi-only tablet has 8GB of storage, with a 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments' OMAP (Open Multipmedia Application Processor), while the display is backlit LCD with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. The Fire has a 7-inch multitouch LCD display and weighs 14.6 ounces. It has apps for Amazon storefronts, including its Android app store, MP3, video, and cloud services. Unlike iPad 2 and other competitors, the Fire does not have a camera or microphone, but its price and Amazon's proven content will undoubtedly make it a serious threat to steal market share. It comes with free cloud storage for data backup.
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The Kindle Fire is available for preorder starting Wednesday, and it will begin shipping on Nov. 15.
The device will have access to content on Amazon's site such as 100,000 movies and TV shows, 17 million songs, apps, millions of books and full-color magazines, Bezos said. It also has an email client.
Bezos demonstrated a high-definition movie playing on the tablet, and the Fruit Ninja game being played. The display can show 16 million colors and is based on Gorilla Glass technology for extra protection. TI's dual-core OMAP processor is based on an ARM processor design, which is found in most tablets today including Apple's iPad.
Analysts were pleasantly surprised by the price. "The price seems to be right," said David Daoud, research director at IDC. Kindle Fire is the second major $199 tablet unveiled after Lenovo announced the $199 Ideapad A1 tablet earlier this month. The specifications are good, and could get more users to buy the device compared to other Android tablets, he said. "Amazon, being a content company, that's going to add value to the tablet market," Daoud said.
Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, said the tablet was a media consumption device at an aggressive price point, and could drive tablet adoption.
Although the Kindle e-book reader is a good way to bring access to e-books, the Kindle Fire is a good way to bring access to other media offered by the company. "For 15 years we've been building our media business," Bezos said. "We have strong digital offers in every media category."