Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet, $199

Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet, $199

Summary: Amazon on Wednesday unveiled the Kindle Fire, the company's first tablet computer and venture into a content market beyond its popular electronic-ink powered Kindle reading device.

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NEW YORK -- Amazon on Wednesday unveiled the Kindle Fire, the company's first tablet computer and venture into a market beyond its popular electronic-ink powered reading device.

Chief executive Jeff Bezos took to the stage here at Stage37 in Manhattan to reveal the device, which carries a 7-inch IPS display (clad in Gorilla Glass) and which very much resembles RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, manufactured by Taiwan's Quanta.

"Amazon Web Services, Amazon Prime, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Instant Video, our MP3 store, Appstore for Android -- we asked ourselves, is there some way we can bring all of these things together into a remarkable product offering that customers would love?" he asked. "The answer is yes. It's called Kindle Fire."

As suspected, the device runs on a version of Google's Android operating system, but looks little like existing Android tablets on the market. It has a dual-core processor.

But the real story here is content. The Fire finally gives Amazon a device to fully leverage the myriad types of content it already sells, including movies, TV shows, music, documents and applications. Bezos played up the device's ability to display magazines (for which it had an extensive library already in place, aptly called "Newsstand") and its use of Whispersync to download movies, TV shows and other kinds of content the e-Ink Kindle can't handle.

Like conventional Kindle e-readers (including the three new models introduced earlier this morning at $79, $99 and $149), the device is pre-registered with the user's Amazon credentials and library.

The Kindle Fire will be $199. It will be available for pre-order today and ship Nov. 15.

"This is an unbelievable value," Bezos said.

AMAZON SILK

Bezos also unveiled Amazon Silk, a "split" web browser that "partially lives in Amazon EC2 [cloud computing platform] and partially lives in Kindle Fire."

"It is difficult for mobile devices to display modern web pages rapidly," Bezos said.

The company says web pages will display much faster. (There are demo stations positioned outside; we'll let you know if it's up to the task.)

ZDNet comment: Is the Fire enough to ward off challenges from Barnes & Noble's Nook Color 2, expected immediately before the holiday rush? In this early peek, it's unclear, but there's no discounting Amazon's credibility among consumers -- and its aggressive pricing scheme.

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Topics: Hardware, Amazon, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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55 comments
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  • Amazon will sell this thing

    Because they have earned their reputation as a quality hardware manufacturer with the Kindle.
    x I'm tc
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @jdakula
      I predict there will now be two big-selling tablets...
      the iPad and Amazon's new offering!

      I predict this will hurt the sales of higher priced Android tablets. There's probably even a market for people who will own both this and the iPad. Have the best of both worlds... and one of them only costs $200!!! Own both a 9.3" and a 7" screen device... and have access to apps from both platforms.

      Way to go Amazon! This price is what many of us have been waiting for!
      camcost
      • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

        @camcost@... about a year ago Apple was rumored to be preparing a 6" device, perhaps to be branded as an iPod touch variant. If Amazon does well with this tablet don't be surprised if we see something like this from Apple.
        dsf3g
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @jdakula I'm pretty sure Amazon's content services gives this tablet a very special place in the market, however I think Android is not as good as iOS since Honeycomb has much less apps. It would be nice if Amazon would start a parthnership with Microsoft to build Kindle Fire with Windows 8 installed instead of Android, the reason is you'll be able to use the Mango UI which is much better than Honeycomb's UI.
      Gabriel Hernandez
      • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

        @Gabriel Hernandez Do not forget another Amazon's advantage - they do not police the content
        pupkin_z
      • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

        @Gabriel Hernandez That is you personal opinion, why do you think everyone else like Mango UI over Android? and the amount of apps has nothing to do with a OS being better than the other and of the zillions apps Apple has how many really an individual is buying? 1000?
        marcovj
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      jailbroke yet? im not paying for angry birds again!
      bspurloc
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @jdakula Hear hear.
      Imrhien
  • Reading a magazine on a 7" screen is a recipe

    for frustration.
    baggins_z
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @baggins_z Reading is working just fine on my Playbook, and the form factor slips nicely into my daytimer...this could be a real win if web browsing is good.
      yorkero
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @baggins_z

      I've got a Subscription to The Economist through Barnes & Noble that I read on my HTC Flyer. Works perfectly well. Would be nicer on a 10" tablet, no doubt, but the portability of the 7" form factor has me won over.
      dsf3g
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @baggins_z That was my first thought, as well. The size and shape of this looks great for watching movies, but for text-heavy work, it seems rather small. With my aging eyes, I'd be doing far more zooming than I do now. I'm happy to see Amazon giving more people a chance to own a tablet with that crazy-low price, but I'll stick with full-sized tablets.
      BillDem
  • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

    Anybody root this thing yet?? Lol
    redhaven
  • Current iPad Owner

    I'm a current iPad owner who at 199 will buy this device! great pricing and I love Amazon's cloud offerings... so sad it runs Android, I was hoping Amazon would come out with a new OS or buy WebOS...
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @Hasam1991
      Now, does this thing have 3G????
      Hasam1991
      • According to the sources so far?

        @Hasam1991

        No.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

        @Hasam1991 Wouldn't even want it to have 3g. This is going to be something you take and hook up to wifi. Simpler, cheaper, and will satisfy almost every need.
        boomchuck1
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @Hasam1991
      Considering how much they've tweaked the UI, the only Androidy thing about this tablet, really, is that it'll run Android apps.
      dsf3g
  • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

    Amazing article,my best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here http://ManyRich.com
    GeorgeGallagher
    • RE: Amazon's Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computer

      @GeorgeGallagher: people like you who spams every forum are pathetic!
      OurManFlint