Amazon’s worst-kept secret finally got a healthy dose of sunlight following the official announcement of the Kindle Fire tablet on Sept. 28, 2011 (with an official release on Nov. 15, 2011).
The use of the Android operating system, combined with Amazon’s name recognition makes it natural for folks to label the Kindle Fire as an Apple iPad competitor. But its $199 price tag also makes it a direct rival to Barnes & Noble’s Android-powered Nook Color tablet, which overtook the Amazon’s Kindle e-reader in sales prior to the Fire’s announcement.
Here’s a quick look at the Kindle Fire’s features and specifications:
Display: The Kindle Fire features a 7-inch in-plane switching or IPS touchscreen display with protection provided via Corning’s popular Gorilla Glass. For spec geeks, screen resolution is 1024 x 600 pixels at 169 pixels per inch and capable of displaying 16 million colors.
Dimensions: Size-wise, the Fire is 7.5 inches or 190 millimeters tall and 4.7 inches or 120 millimeters wide in portrait orientation. Thickness is 0.45 inches or 11.4 mm. Weight is 14.6 ounces or 413 grams.
Brains and memory: Powering the Kindle Fire is a 1GHz dual-core processor backed up by 512MB of RAM. Internal memory is 8GB, which Amazon says is enough to hold 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. Free cloud storage also is available for Amazon content. The operating system is based on Google’s Android with a custom skin layered on it.
Online and wireless features: The device supports connections to private and public Wi-Fi networks but not for ad-hoc or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. Web browsing will be handled via cloud-accelerated browser Amazon Silk. The Kindle Fire also supports Adobe Flash. Users can automatically sync their library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, highlights and movies across their various Amazon devices via the Whispersync feature. Unlimited, instant streaming of more than 10,000 movies and TV shows is available for Amazon Prime members.
Connectors and formats: Connections include a USB 2.0 micro-B connector and 3.5mm stereo audio jack. Android apps such as Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies are supported and can be downloaded via the Amazon Appstore. Supported formats listed by Amazon are Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, AA, AAX, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
Battery and charging: Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless turned off. Charging time is 4 hours.
For more details about the Kindle line, check out our Kindle Hub.