Today, Amazon joins the likes of recent contenders RIM and HP to see if it can break into the tablet computer market which Apple has thoroughly dominated since it released the iPad nearly two years ago. At a very-Apple press event this morning the online retailer announced the Amazon Kindle Fire, a 7" color tablet running a heavily customized version of Google's Android OS (seriously, it looks almost nothing like the Android interface you know). The most interesting thing about this WiFi-enabled tablet? It is expected to cost $199, a steal compared to Apple's pricier pad. And the Fire wasn't the only thing that Amazon had up its sleeve today.
In addition to the Fire, which comes with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, the Seattle-based retailer also announced that it is really going after the consumer e-Reader market with a $79 Kindle available at the bottom end (basically the same reader that was available for $114 earlier this week) and a black-and-white Kindle Touch, which is similar to the regular Kindle but without the buttons, for $99. A 3G version of the Touch will be available for $149 in November.
But back to the Fire. What's new here? Amazon's big push with its tablet appears to be its massive data center's ability to store and process content and data for you. Which means if you buy something from Amazon and load it on your Fire, if you delete it you can always get it back without any hassle. Further, the company is hoping to leverage its "WhisperSync" technology, which it uses to load up books on existing Kindles, for other media including music and movies. It also is touting software that will allow Amazon's computer farms to process webpages before they are delivered to the device.
The real question remains though, is the popularity of the iPad a sign that people are ready for and want tablet computers...or that they are ready for and wanted iPad computers? Which is to say, would you buy an Amazon Kindle Fire?