Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazon's Tablet Cometh Tomorrow

Well, the writing is on the wall. Apparently Amazon is looking to add another gadget to their lineup of already popular Kindle e-readers, and will make this announcement tomorrow.

Rumors have it that the new device will be called the Amazon Kindle Fire, which isn't a bad name keeping within the whole conflagration theme.

We'll have to wait to see just what the technical specifications are, but it's been reported around the web that the device is based off of the failed Blackberry Playbook (pictured left courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/etcusc/), albeit without a camera.

And speaking of cost, seems like Amazon will be trying to hit the $250 price point (my guess is $249.99 because that always looks nicer right?).

From what MG Siegler over at TechCrunch observed (lucky!), the tablet uses a forked version of Google's Android operating system prior to version 2.2. Apparently Amazon wanted their tablet to play in a walled garden like some other hardware vendors (*cough*Apple*cough*) because almost all traces of Android are hidden or have disappeared. This may not prevent the average joe from purchasing one, but anyone who has Android on a smartphone with Google Market and other apps available will probably shy away, and that's a LOT of people. To be fair Amazon has their own App Store which the device will use, so it's not as if users will be completely cut off. Actually, I've found the Amazon App Store to be quite robust.

It has a decent processor, which is good to know because there were rumors that Amazon had cut costs by using a slower one than the Playbook had, which would turn a lot of people off. But all is well, hopefully it can handle the media Amazon Prime offers without a hitch. Perhaps that's why Amazon forked Android in the first place?

While this is all very interesting, I'm not sure how successful this device can be in a market dominated by the iPad, though the Fire will cost far less than ANY iPad, which could give it a huge advantage, especially in today's economy. However, there are rumors that a new Barnes and Noble Nook is coming down the pipe which is near the same price point as the Fire. Oh variables, variables.

So for now we'll have wait to see if this Fire burns, or fizzles out.

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