Kindle Fire – Amazon’s new Tablet


Kindle Fire is Amazon’s new entry into the small tablet market and, although pre-orders are being accepted now, it is not due for official release until 15th November. Kindle Fire is a 7″ tablet with 8GB internal storage running a special Amazon version of Google’s Android OS – reports suggest that it is not the latest Honeycomb 3.0, but an earlier version of Android (2.x.). The tablet will initially retail for $199.00 in the U.S.

Reactions have been mixed but the majority of comments to date have been not been too complimentary with reviewers pointing out there is no 3G, no camera and no microphone. Those omissions are certainly puzzling, I cannot see the younger generation taking to a mobile device which does not include support for 3G nor any sort of camera.

There has also been a lot of discussion about Kindle Fire’s proprietary web browser, known as Amazon Silk. Apparently the browser leverages off Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing engine which results in a much lighter load for the device itself. This, however, has also raised some doubts among the security fraternity; seeing how Amazon servers will be playing a man-in-the-middle role, Amazon will automatically have access to a history of all browsing activities. This has, of course, raised some serious privacy questions. Amazon have responded by iterating their privacy policy which precludes the collection of any personal information. One source also reported that there will be an option available to switch off the Amazon proxy service and browse as per normal, although there doesn’t appear to be a consensus on that.

On the face of it, I suspect Amazon decided to rely more on price than features for its initial foray into the competitive tablet market; I have no doubt we can expect bigger and better (and more expensive) models to follow:

  • Display – 7″ multi-touch with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
  • Size – 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
  • Weight – 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
  • Storage (onboard) – 8GB internal. That’s enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
  • Storage (cloud) – Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Battery Life – Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.
  • Charge Time – Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
  • Wi-Fi – Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
  • USB Port – USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
  • Audio – 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
  • Supported Formats – Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele… as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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