I will start by apologizing for the awful Doors reference in this article’s title, but I just couldn’t resist. If the Fire delivers on its promises, however, it may make the title true after all. On September 28th Amazon officially announced the Kindle Fire, a brilliant new Android tablet that makes me want to reach for my wallet right now. Alas we have to wait a while longer as it won’t be available until closer to the Holiday Season.
So what is the Fire and what kind of awesome features does it possess? The Fire is not one to brag and therefore it doesn’t offer fancy things like microphones, large screens, cameras, or the ability to travel through time. What the device does offer, however, is very tight integration with many of Amazon’s services such as “Amazon Prime”. For those that aren’t familiar with Prime it is a $80 a year service through Amazon that offers free two-day shipping and streaming of thousands of TV shows and movies instantly. Beyond Prime the device will have easy access to thousands of apps, songs, games, downloadable movies and music, and of course e-books. These days there are over 18 million songs, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, apps and games available from Amazon and so as far as content is concerned you have little to worry about with the Amazon Kindle Fire, it seems.
Though the iPad offers a considerable amount of content as well, there are some key differences. The largest of these differences would probably be the price tag of the Fire which is only $199. In comparison the base model of the iPad is $300 more. The Fire saves on price a few ways, the first being that it only comes in a 7-inch screen size factor. The second reason for the lower price is that it only features 8GB of storage. This may not seem like a lot compared to the iPad’s 16GB but Amazon has stated this is both to control cost and because they anticipate that most storage and usage for the Fire will be done via the Internet cloud.
Another touted feature of the Kindle Fire is its new browser, called Silk. The browser is designed to be fully integrated with Amazon services and also learns your browsing habits so it can better serve you and speed up the browsing process. Keep in mind that this device isn’t meant to replace your PC but to simply act as a highly mobile and easy to use entertainment portal.
Overall if you are looking for a highly affordable Android-based tablet that is created by a major brand and has tons of readily available content then this may be worth looking in to. When it comes to features and content it is very comparable to other Android tablets in the $200-$400 range, certainly. For some a 7-inch reader may just not cut it, being a bit too small and with too little storage or bells and whistles. For me? Well if you can’t tell I think that this a great step in the right direction for Amazon and am very interested in this device. Honestly, though it will probably take a Kindle Fire 2 featuring more storage, a larger screen, and some more bells and whistles before this device can really make a large mark in the growing tablet sector. In the meantime I will be following news on this device closely as the launch nears in November.