The Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet Up Close – No Replacement for the iPad But Pretty Darned Sweet!

So, by now you’ve likely heard all about Amazon’s foray into the Tablet space, this with the launch of the Amazon "Fire". 

As could be expected, speculation and blogging is rampant with many stories and pseudo "reviews" coming out, many of them touting the next "iPad killer". Well indeed, Amazon is making noise, and for good reason… hell, who wouldn’t be interested in a sub $200 Tablet – think back a couple of months when HP held their fire sale and blew out their inventory of tablets.

I’ll admit, initially I was also excited about the Amazon tablet, particularly as I have 3 kids all of whom are screaming for their own personal Tablet device – a sub $200 unit just may be what I’ve been waiting for! But can the Fire be considered a rival to the iPad? I hardly think so, however, it will serve as a wake-up call to Apple and will help keep the marketplace alive with some competition. On another note though, many iPad users are huge fans of the iPad E-reader capabilities and a favorite use of the iPad is to read E-books, magazines, and video streaming, a space where Fire just might rival the iPad albeit on a smaller screen. So, what market is Fire chasing? Amazon hopes to cut into Apple iPad market share or 29 million units shipped, ~68% market share, with 90,000+ supported apps.

Here’s how Amazon is touting the device – The New "Kindle Fire" – the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, and web browsing with all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, Amazon’s new revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, vibrant color touch screen, and powerful dual-core processor

Here’s what you’ll get from the Fire:

7-inch, color screen
1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors
Android OS
Weight    14.6 ounces (413 grams)
Size – 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm)
8GB internal storage
Battery – Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback
dual-core processor
free cloud storage
chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic
built-in email app
uses Amazon’s Whispersync
Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter
support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security
USB 2.0 port
Audio – 3.5 mm stereo audio jack

Content Formats Supported   – 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.

1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended
Includes U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V)

Here’s what you don’t get:

  • No 3G capability
  • No Camera

See More Specs HERE

My thoughts

As a long time iPhone and now iPad user I’m pretty firmly entrenched and addicted to the iOS (for now), however, as a tech and gadget freak, I’m naturally interested in being able to test and use Android apps and experience the Android market. I’m a big fan of Google apps and services and when I go back to the days of using the Android G1 smartphone I recall that I was pretty darned happy with that device – even if the Android OS was very young and immature at that time. 

When I look at how I (and my family) currently use our existing tablet (iPad) I see no reason why the Fire couldn’t deliver the experience that I would enjoy. I’m guessing I could do pretty much anything that I would want to, with the exception of video calling and live video streaming. The major pros I see in the Fire is the sweet sub $200 price, the cool Android OS experience, and a durable, portable Tablet. I was impressed to see that the device has 8GM of memory and the addition of WiFi and a USB port does provide some other options for me. The biggest cons that I see is the relatively small screen size (although this would facilitate 1 handed use), and the lack of Bluetooth support and no camera or microphone. I’m inclined to think though that the pros outweigh the cons – @gletham

The Kindle Fire Ships November 15, 2011

See also the official PR – Introducing the All-New Kindle Family: Four New Kindles, Four Amazing Price Points


Supported Content, Apps, and Services (Source: Amazon)

Faster browsing – a "split browser" architecture that accelerates the power of the mobile device hardware by using the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services Cloud

Supports video-streaming, an improved user interface, wireless syncing, automatic backup to Amazon’s cloud

Over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, including thousands of new releases and popular TV shows, available to stream or download, purchase or rent – all just one tap away. Amazon Prime Members enjoy instant, unlimited, commercial-free streaming of over 11,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost. Kindle Fire comes with one free month of Amazon Prime.

Over 17,000,000 songs from Amazon MP3, including new and bestselling albums from just $7.99 and individual songs from $0.69.

Over 1,000,000 Kindle books, including thousands of bestsellers, children’s books, comic books and cookbooks in rich color.

100 exclusive graphic novels, including Watchmen, the bestselling – and considered by many to be the greatest – graphic novel of all time, which has never before been available in digital format, as well as Batman: Arkham City, Superman: Earth OneGreen Lantern: Secret Origin and 96 others from DC Entertainment.

Hundreds of magazines and newspapers – including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart Living – with full-color layouts, photographs, illustrations, built-in video, audio and other interactive features are available from the new Kindle Fire "Newsstand." Kindle Fire customers will enjoy an exclusive free three-month trial to 17 Condé Nast magazines, including Vanity Fair, GQ and Glamour.

All the most popular Android apps and games, such as Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, Cut the Rope and more. All apps are Amazon-tested on Kindle Fire to ensure quality and Amazon offers a new free paid app every day.


Author: Editor

Glenn is a geographer and a GIS professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. He's the co-founder of GISuser and several other technology web publications.

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