The Kindle Fire is just about ready to launch, and not since the launch of the Motorola XOOM has an Android tablet been so hotly anticipated. With a little help from the mainstream media, consequent consumer excitement, and - last but certainly not least - Amazon's front page (all things manufacturers like ASUS could only dream of), it has skyrocketed to the top of many tech enthusiasts' holiday shopping lists. And at $199, it won't break the bank, either; the only thing that could possibly hold it back now would be, well, an underwhelming user experience. So has Amazon ironed out the kinks?
When the Amazon Kindle Fire was announced, we were all pretty excited about its tablet-meets-e-reader form factor, low price, and powerful hardware. Barnes & Noble has fired back this morning with an equally impressive device (and in some aspects even more so), albeit with a slightly higher price tag. As always, both devices offer features that make them unique from each other -- but, at the end of the day, which one is the better choice?
Let's throw both devices in the ring and see how they fare with one another, shall we? First up, specs:
- 7-inch IPS lamination display
- 1GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB storage with SD card slot
- 400 grams
- 9 Hours of video playback, 11.5 hours of read-time
Amazon Kindle Fire
- 7-inch IPS display
- 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor
- 512MB RAM
- 8GB internal storage, no SD card slot
- 413 grams
- 7.5 hours locally-stored video playback, 8 hours read-time
With specs out of the way, let's take a closer look at each one to get a better idea of which device is the better buy this holiday season.
It looks like the HP Touchpad isn't the only tablet to have a bounty placed on its head - Kindle Fire Forum is now offering a substantial reward to the first person who's able to provide a reliable, reversible root method, or either a Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich port for Amazon's Android tablet.
The forum is offering a prize of $200 for a root method, and a whopping $800 for a "Basic" Honeycomb or ICS port. The original post outlines the goals like so:
However, if you are a new customer signing up for a 2-year contract, we would strongly recommend heading to AmazonWireless and picking up the device for only $49.99.
Unfortunately, the deal isn't so great for current customers as they will have to pay $199.99 for the handset.
What do you do if you're a known patent troll and a major company announces a new device that is sure to sell millions of units? Try to sue the heck out of them, of course. That's exactly what's going on with Amazon's upcoming Kindle Fire, the still-unreleased tablet from the online retail giant.
The story goes a little something like this: Amazon announces the Fire for an ultra-affordable price. Everyone is happy and wants this new device, so pre-orders are through the roof. Acacia hears about this amazing new technology and, being an innovation-stifling patent troll, decides to hit Amazon with some patent violations.
There's no doubt that the Kindle Fire is hot commodity right now, and the device hasn't even hit shelves yet. In fact, it's still roughly six weeks away from launch. Still, pre-order sales have been absolutely staggering for Amazon, with over 250 thousand in just a few days. They're averaging around 2,000 per hour, and, if they continue coming in at that rate, this puts the Fire on track to easily top the iPad's record for first-month sales.
The original iPad sold around 300 thousand units on its first day out, with over a million total units sold in the first month.
The first of Amazon's two new Android tablets has officially been revealed (the second one is rumored to be coming out towards the end of the year), and features a 7" 1024x600 display, 1GHz dual-core CPU, 8GB of storage, and a heavily modified Android experience with an emphasis on Amazon's cloud services - all for just $200.
Given that the price of similar (but larger) tablets is still in the $400+ neighborhood (unless you want to compare it to the Nook Color or original Galaxy Tab, though both are substantially less powerful), will the lower cost yet powerful specs be enough to make the Fire the de facto standard in the tablet world?
When we reported that Amazon was working on a number of Android devices earlier this year, shortly thereafter, reports began surfacing that the company would release two Android tablets before year's end, one 7", the other 10". The 7" device, now known as the Kindle Fire, is obviously for real.
But what about its supposed big brother? At this point, it seems almost imminent that it will be released. It also sounds very much like Amazon will unveil this bigger, better, Fiery-er device in time for Christmas in the US, and now we've got at least two reasons to think this is happening.
Amazon's new tablet, the Kindle Fire, has been grabbing all of the headlines following Amazon's press event yesterday, and rightfully so. Priced at an aggressive $199, it has virtually alienated all other Android tablet manufacturers in one fell swoop, offering potential buyers a great piece of hardware and all of the content Amazon has to offer to back it up.
Despite this, there are still a few things that the Fire won't offer. It's running a heavily skinned version of Android 2.3, so the experience will be completely different to other Android tablets currently available. Also, it doesn't ship with the Android Market, instead offering Amazon's App Store (although it will support sideloading of applications).
All I could think after reading the announcement for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet this morning was: "this is what we've been waiting for." Because it is. Amazon gets tablets, believe it or not. And despite the flagging success of the Amazon Appstore, the company has done what no other tablet manufacturer has even come remotely close to: matching access to Apple's curated content library (iTunes + App Store) at a price nearly everyone can afford.
Living In The Amazon Ecosystem
I buy my music from Amazon. I buy episodes of TV shows. I rent movies. I buy Kindle books - and I don't even own a Kindle.