Amazon unveiled its first Android tablet yesterday called the Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire seems to have similar hardware specifications as the RIM PlayBook. The Amazon tablet is powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 dual core processor, features a 7″ capacitive touchscreen, using IPS (in-plane switching display) technology with 1024×600 resolution, 8GB of flash storage, WiFi support, a Micro-USB port, top-mounted stereo speakers and a stereo headphone jack. The Kindle Fire apparently lacks a microSD or SD slot, does not support 3G and does not have camera. It measures 191 x 119 x 11 millimeters and weighs 413.9 grams. When Wi-Fi is disabled, the battery will last for up to eight hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback. The good news is that it will be sold for 199 USD. It’s 100 USD cheaper than the (already cheap) Archos 80 G9 with a similar hardware, although the Archos Tablet features a front camera and a larger 8″ screen.
The device is said to be running a customized version of Android
3.1. Oups.. since this customized version is based on Android Open Source Project, that would be Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and not Android 3.x (Honeycomb) according a post on Jean-Baptiste Queru Google+.
One of the most interesting features is the Silk mobile web browserdeveloped by Amazon. It makes use of AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform to optimize the loading time and provide better performance than other browsers for popular websites by offloading much of the rendering to the Amazon cloud. Watch”Amazon Silk—Amazon’s Revolutionary Cloud-Accelerated Web Browser” video introduction below to better understand how this works.
Like other Kindles, the Fire provides “Whispersync” technology to synchronize a user’s Kindle library, last page read, bookmarks, notes and highlights across the devices and platforms. This synchronization has been expanded to video on the Kindle Fire and “you can start streaming a movie on your Kindle Fire, and when you get home, you can resume streaming right where you left off on your TV – avoid the frustration of needing to find your spot.”
As mentioned above, the Fire does not have phone network support which usually means it won’t support Android Marketplace because of Google policy. That’s probably to work around this issue that Amazon has opened its own Appstore for Android where you’ll be able to download and play games such as Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies and runs apps such as The Weather Channel.
You can already pre-order the device for 199 USD and it will be officially released on the 15th of November in the US only.
If you are not satisfied with Amazon customization of Android, you’ll certainly be able to load a vanilla version of Android Honeycomb or ICS as it is built around TI OMAP4, the reference processor for Android ICS.