Amazon Unveils Kindle Fire Tablet, Two Other New E-Readers
Amazon.com today unveiled its long-awaited color tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire, at an event in New York that also saw the introduction of two new e-readers.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the tablet, which ships Nov. 15, would retail for $199. "We're building premium products at non-premium prices," he said.
The Android-based Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and features a 7-inch screen. With the Fire, Amazon is seeking to leverage its experience with cloud-based and synching technologies. All content, including magazines, can be backed up using Amazon's cloud storage, and the Kindle's Whispersync technology will allow for automatic, wireless synching of multimedia content—no plug-ins to computers required.
"What if Whispersync also worked with movies and TV Shows? Well, it does. When you get home, switch to your big screen TV. Your movie will be right where you left it," Bezos said.
A "newsstand"-style interface allows users to organize books, magazines, video and other content. The screen also features a search bar along the top. Mobile browsing is accomplished with a proprietary browser, Amazon Silk, which Bezos said will allow for very quick page loading times.
Before announcing the Fire, Bezos revealed another new product, the Kindle Touch e-reader. The grayscale reader will come in both wi-fi and 3G versions, with the wi-fi enabled version retailing for $99 and the 3G—which comes with lifetime wireless connectivity in 100 countries—for $149. The Kindle Touch ships Nov. 21.
As has become standard in e-reader "touch" models like the Nook and Kobo, the device does not have a keyboard, allowing it to be smaller and lighter. The interface is similar to the Kindle app, where users tap on the right of the page to go forward, on the left to go back, and in the middle for a menu. A new pop up feature allows readers to get in-depth information on people, places and events encountered in books.
Bezos also announced a bare-bones $79 Kindle, available starting today, and a new targeted local ads component of the Kindle with Special Offers, the Kindle which serves up advertising to readers in exchange for a lower purchase price.