Amazon unveils Kindle Fire tablet

Dylan Bushell-Embling
29 Sep 2011

Amazon has unveiled its long-anticipated Kindle tablet, the Kindle Fire, at the disruptive price point of under $200.

The company yesterday announced four new Kindle e-readers, including a pocket sized version for $79 and two touchscreen models.

But it is the Kindle Fire, one of the worst-kept secrets in tech this year, that is stealing the most attention.

The7-inch tablet-reader hybrid, which runs on a heavily-modified Android build, is capable of web browsing and app installation as well as accessing content. It will include Wi-Fi but not 3G connectivity.

The OS has been developed to maximize integration with Amazon web services. There will be a link to the Amazon Appstore - but not the Android Market - as well as one-tap access to digital content including books, magazines, movies and TV, songs and games.

Amazon also plans to use the Fire to further stimulate online sales of physical goods, and will offer initial US customers free two day shipping on many items on the Amazon store.

The device also boasts cloud storage, with digital content automatically uploaded to the Amazon EC2 Cloud where it can be redownloaded on demand.

According to the company, the EC2 is also used to help improve the performance of integrated web browser Amazon Silk, by splitting computing power between the device and the cloud.

Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the device, but only for US customers. No word yet as to when the Fire will hit international stores.

Even before the Amazon Fire had been publicly announced, pundits had been speculating that the tablet could be the device to finally take on the iPad. HP's TouchPad fire sale has certainly shown that there is demand for a low-cost tablet.

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