Amazon unveiled its much-hyped Kindle Fire tablet in New York City on Wednesday.
Many analysts think the tablet and e-reader could cut into sales of Apple’s iPad and be a huge holiday hit with its $199 price point. One senior analyst at Forrester Research even predicted Amazon’s tablet could become the number two tablet in the world after the iPad by the end of 2011.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also used the New York event to launch a $79 version of the original Kindle and the new $99 touch-enabled Kindle Touch, two smart devices sure to also help Amazon sell a lot of units this year. But back to the big announcement from the show, the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Here are 10 important questions and answers about brand-new Kindle Fire.
1. How much does it cost?
The Kindle Fire will retail for an impressive $199, which is less than half the price of the most inexpensive iPad, which costs $499.
2. What kind of screen does it have?
The tablet features a 7-inch, Gorilla Glass-protected, multitouch IPS display with 1024 by 600 resolution. It can display 16 million colors.
3. How good is the hardware inside?
Inside the Kindle Fire is a Texas Instruments OMAP4 dual-core processor that will enable all types of media playback. Notably, it does not have 3G connectivity and only lets you stream over a Wi-Fi connection.
4. How big is it and how long does the battery last?
The Kindle Fire measures 7.5 by 4.7 by 0.45 inches and weighs 14.6 ounces. It will feel similar to other 7-inch tablets in your hands. The battery is rated for up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with the Wi-Fi turned off. (We expect the battery will be less than this in real usage.)
5. What sort of software is it running?
The Kindle Fire runs on a completely new version of Google Android in which you can hardly see the Android components. It includes a cool web browser called Silk, a native e-mail client and a document reader.
6. Does it run apps?
Yes, you will be able to run Android applications including popular games like Angry Birds and utilities like The Weather Channel. Apps will be purchased through Amazon’s App Store.
7. How will reading e-books on it compare to the original Kindle?
The biggest difference between the new Kindles and the original Kindle in terms of reading is the screen. The original Kindle and new Kindle Touch feature an E-Ink screen that makes for especially comfortable reading, while the Kindle Fire’s LCD screen is more versatile but less friendly on the eyes while reading for long periods. Amazon’s bookstore offers more than 1 million books, including 800,000 titles priced at $9.99 or less.
8. What other kinds of content will I be able to enjoy on the tablet?
Using the $79-a-year Amazon Prime service, you can stream more than 11,000 movies and TV show episodes to the Kindle Fire. You can also buy music from Amazon’s catalog of 17 million tunes or stream already-purchased music from Amazon’s Cloud Drive. Notably, you can also download magazines such as Bon Appetit, Elle and Oprah in full color.
9. How much storage does it have and how does it work with the Amazon cloud?
The Kindle Fire has 8GB of onboard storage, but Amazon offers a unique way of storing items so you never really run out of room. Anything you purchase — such as books, music and movies — will be backed up in Amazon’s cloud so you can delete and re-store items on your device at any time.
10. When can I buy it?
The Kindle Fire will begin shipping on November 15. It can be pre-ordered starting today.