We all knew it was coming, but it’s now official: Amazon has just announced the Kindle Fire, its first tablet computer. The Kindle Fire is an Android tablet that doesn’t look like your average, well, Android tablet. It’s skinned down to the bone, so you’ll never actually see the home screens or menus like you would on other tablets of its kind. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s also quite small. In fact, it very closely resembles the BlackBerry PlayBook in terms of appearance, size and even feel. Hmm.
The Kindle Fire features a 7-inch IPS touchscreen display with a very wide viewing angle, at a resolution of 1024 x 600. At 161 DPI, it’s nice enough for watching movies and viewing pictures without being annoyed by pixels. It’s also powered by a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4 platform processor, so everything from Angry Birds to reading your Kindle books should go on without a hitch.
One of the biggest concerns, of course, is battery life. Amazon promises roughly seven hours of video streaming over Wi-Fi, so we’d imagine that regular use of the tablet would run about 12 hours or so.
Perhaps the only downside is that you don’t have access to the entire Android Market selection of apps. Instead, you’ll be limited to Amazon’s Android app store, wherein the folks at Amazon curate the apps it sells from Google. The good thing is that you won’t be missing out on some of the bigger apps out there, like Angry Birds, Pulse News and Facebook. If it’s any consolation, if you buy the Kindle Fire, you’ll be treated to 30 days of Amazon Prime for free. That means you’ll get to stream all the TV and movies that Prime members have access to, free.
The Kindle Fire is also limited to just 8GB of on-board storage, which seems paltry compared to most other 16GB and 32GB Android tablets, but you might not need all that storage for most of your multimedia. Owners of the Kindle Fire will get unlimited cloud storage for their movies and TV shows, so your content will be accessible anywhere you have Internet access. If you want stuff to read or watch while you’re on a plane or in a subway, you can download content locally and then delete afterward if you like.
The Kindle Fire is available for pre-order today for $199, comes with a 30 and will start shipping in mid-November.
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