Amazon’s $199 Color Tablet = the Kindle Fire

Amazon just announced several updates to its popular Kindle line.  Not only will they be coming out with updated black & white Kindle e-readers (for reading), they are also going to be releasing a 7″ Android Color Tablet (for media consumption = video, music, magazines, Android apps, and yes you can also use it for reading).

The new Kindle e-readers look like a nice update, but the real excitement revolves around the Kindle Fire Color tablet.

Here’s the main things to know…
1.  Price = $199
2.  Nice 7″ color screen (better resolution than iPad 2, great viewing angles, and protected by Gorilla glass)
3.  Light at 14.6 ounces  (as a weight reference, the iPad 2 is ~21 ounces)
4.   WiFi, but no 3G option
5.  No camera, microphone, or bluetooth (Amazon designed this to be a media consumption device at a rock bottom price, so they had to cut features like this somewhere.  I’m not disappointed by the lack of camera and microphone, but bluetooth would’ve been really nice to have for hooking up keyboards and other expansion options…hopefully bluetooth is hidden like it was in the Nook Color and just needs to be enabled via a hack).
6.  Rubberized backing (in my opinion, all phones/tablets should come with this kind of backing.  It makes it easy to hold, and protects from scratches)
7.  Integrated with Amazon’s media services (Kindle Books, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon’s music store, Amazon Android App store, Amazon Cloud Storage…this is a very big deal because it provides the Kindle Fire with a very complete ecosystem, similar to what Apple has with iOS)
8.  You can pre-order now, but release date is November 15, 2011.
9.  a 10″ version might be coming in the near future…
Here’s some geekier things to know
1.  very fast with a dual core CPU
2.  Amazon Silk web browser (is a web browser optimized for tablets…it uses Amazon’s cloud technologies to take some of the processing load off of the tablet’s CPU…this equates to faster website loading times)
3.  it runs on Android, but it doesn’t really look like it…it has a user interface skin on top to make things more user friendly and more directed at media consumption of your videos, music, books, and magazines)
4.  it doesn’t have access to the official Android Market for apps…instead you download apps directly from the Amazon Android App Store

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