The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire has gotten its announcement a little early, and not from Amazon at all. Bloomberg, citing Amazon executives, reports that the Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet running Android and functioning as a "souped-up version of the Kindle." To reach that keen price, Amazon has eschewed the integration of a camera, microphone or 3G, though the Fire will come with W-iFi and a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. Prime membership typically costs $79 per year and grants the benefits of free two-day shipping and access to Amazon’s video-streaming service.
Jeff Bezos has confirmed all of the foregoing at Amazon’s launch event and has added some more specs: the Kindle Fire has a Gorilla Glass-protected, multitouch-capable IPS display, a TI OMAP4 dual-core processor, and at 14.6 ounces (413g), a pretty lightweight frame. The resolution on that screen is 1024 x 600, same as on RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook, and the Kindle Fire’s physical dimensions are 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches (190 x 120 x 11.5mm). There’s 8GB of built-in storage and the battery’s rated to last for eight hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback (with Wi-Fi switched off). A 3.5mm headphone jack is naturally included as is a pair of top-mounted stereo speakers.
On the software front, we’re told that Amazon has "painted over the rough surfaces" of Android with its own, more accessible user interface and has closely tied the device with its content library. That includes the Amazon App Store, which has grown to number over 10,000 applications, and what’s described as a "lightning-fast web browser" running on Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing engine. Calling it Silk, Bezos explains that it splits the workload between the Kindle Fire and Amazon’s cloud, doing some backend hocus pocus to streamline what gets to your device. All other media and content on the Kindle Fire will also be backed up to the cloud, so you can delete things without a care. One final note of software import: the Fire supports Flash!
See video of Amazon’s new 7-inch tablet after the break. The Kindle Fire will ship in the US (and only in the US, there are no plans for an international launch yet) on November 15th for $199 and pre-orders are now being taken at the link below.