By Stephen Schenck | January 18, 2012 4:53 PM
We’ve been hearing rumors about the possibility of Amazon introducing its own Android tablet for some time now, but hadn’t been quite sure what to expect. Early-on, there was talk of it being a powerhouse, with the hardware and price point that had the potential to make it an iPad-killer. More recently, expectations shifted to a lower-end tablet running a customized version of Android. Well, there’s no need to speculate any longer, as this morning Amazon finally unveiled its Kindle Fire.
The Fire is a 7-inch tablet featuring a full-color, Gorilla-Glass-covered IPS display, weighing-in at 14.6 ounces. Sure enough, the UI may have Android underneath, but Amazon has crafted an experience here that bares little resemblance to the Android devices we’re used to. Of course, it’s all centered around books, music, and media. Just as a Kindle can keep synced-up to your progress in reading a book, the Kindle Fire will sync your Amazon-based media collection between devices, letting you pick up watching a movie from where you left off.
Even with a dual-core processor, Amazon wants the Kindle Fire to feel extra-spry when you’re browsing the web, so it’s introducing its own cloud-based browser, Amazon Silk. Much like Skyfire or Opera Mini, Silk lets Amazon’s servers take first crack at the content you wish to browse before it gets to your phone, processing and compressing it to save on bandwidth and reduce page load times.
We had expected Amazon’s tablet hardware to fall in the $250 range, and it turns out it’s going to be even cheaper still. The seven-inch Kindle Fire will run you just under $200 when it starts shipping on November 15.
Update: The Kindle Fire’s product page is now online with some additional specs: 1024 x 600 resolution, 8GB internal storage.