Is there room for another tablet? Enter the Amazon Fire

by Dale Wright

Last week, Amazon revealed their newest Kindle – although, unlike the Kindle 3, this device is more than just an e-book reader. Amazon now sell more Kindle books than real books, and they are probably hoping that a tablet device will help them move into even more lucrative digital download markets.

The Amazon Kindle Fire is a new tablet PC which is basically an Android tablet running a custom Amazon ROM. In terms of size, it’s very similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook with its 7” screen, rather than the 10” size which buyers seem to prefer on tablet PCs (the BlackBerry PlayBook has sold so poorly that it is now almost half price in the US).

The Kindle Fire has a dual core processor, 1024×600 screen resolution, 8GB of storage and weighs a shade over 400g.

It’s thought that Amazon will hook the tablet up to your Amazon account so that you can quickly stream or download multimedia content straight from the Amazon store. This could be the key to the tablet’s success, as it gives you music and movies ‘on demand’, much like the iTunes store does for the iPad.

The existing e-ink Amazon Kindle 3 has been re-jigged into a smaller form factor, losing the keyboard in the process, so it’s now more of a stubby rectangle. It’s also a bit cheaper with a new price of £89. Another variation, Kindle Touch, will have touch screen capabilities. The old Kindle has been re-named the Kindle Keyboard. Confused yet?

It’s not yet clear when Amazon will release the Kindle Fire tablet PC in the UK, but they must be brave to enter the tablet market when most of us are still pining after the Apple iPad 2. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, clearly thinks we’re going to lap up all these new devices, stating that Amazon would sell “millions” of them. Is he right?

With Christmas approaching fast, would you ever consider buying a small Android tablet rather than splashing out on the larger, heavier iPad 2? And if you’re a book lover, could anything ever replace your trusty Kindle Keyboard?