Okay, so it wasn’t much of a surprise, but Amazon finally has a tablet, and as expected its name picks up where the Kindle left off: Fire. Of course, rumors of an Amazon tablet date back to this time last year (if not before), but it seems that Jeff and co. have wisely chosen to get this thing out on the open market before having yet another wild and wacky holiday quarter. Bloomberg has curiously reported on some of the details before the event itself kicks off, noting that the 7-inch device will run a version of Android while acting much like a “souped-up Kindle.” The real kicker, however, is the price — at just $199, it’s bound to turn heads, regardless of whether you were interested in a slate before. Naturally, that bargain-bin sticker explains the lack of an embedded camera and microphone, though consumers will find WiFi (no 3G, sadly) and a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. It’s also quite clear that Amazon’s hoping to make a bigger splash on the content side of things than has been made already by Apple, and with the deals flowing like wine, we wouldn’t be shocked if it does just that.
Itching for specs? How’s about a 7-inch IPS (!) panel, Gorilla Glass coating, a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a chassis that weighs 14.6 ounces. There’s also access to things you’d expect to have access to: Android Appstore (though no access to Google’s Android Market!), Kindle books, magazines, etc. — all stored for free via Amazon Cloud Storage. Per Jeff: “Delete it and get it back when you want.” Oh, and Whispersync now works with movies and TV shows! “When you get home, switch to your big screen TV. Your movie will be right where you left it.” While it’s clearly Android underneath, the actual UI looks effectively nothing like it — considering TechCrunch‘s intel that Amazon went and did its own thing without Google’s blessing, we guess that makes some level of sense. Oh, and pre-orders are set to start today (but only for Americans… boo), with shipments heading out on November 15th.
As seen on Engadget
Check out Engadget’s hands-on impressions here.
See Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveil the Kindle Fire here.
Also don’t forget, the Technology Services Desk also has four nooks and four kindles to circulate. Each comes with several fiction titles preloaded. The loan period is two weeks, with late fees at $1 per day. There is often a wait list for these items, so stop by their desk today to check out availability!