Amazon has signalled it move into the tablet market with the official launch of its first tablet device, the Kindle Fire.
Unveiled at an event in New York yesterday (28 September), the Kindle Fire bares a passing resemblance to the company’s original ereader, the Amazon Kindle, but with a number of important modifications.
Amazon is no longer limiting itself to the black and white screen seen on the original Kindle ereader and the restricted purpose of just reading books and magazines.
At just $199 (£130), the seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet is powered by a modified version of Google's Android operating system and boasts a full colour touch-screen and Wi-Fi.
The tablet also comes complete with integrated Amazon services including movie and TV streaming via Amazon, cloud storage, music via Amazon’s MP3 store, apps via Amazon’s app market as well as ebooks for adults and children.
The Fire is significantly cheaper than rival tablets such as Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Informa analyst David McQueen argues that this could potentially help sales.
McQueen said: ‘At $199, the Fire is sure to be a highly disruptive product in the tablet market, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, and not only with other tablet manufacturers but also those that have yet to embrace cloud services.
‘It is arguably the use of the cloud that could be the real game-changer in the tablet market although the Fire is going to put a lot of competitive pressure on both the Nook (from Barnes & Noble) and other tablet manufacturers in the seven-inch space.’
Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said: ‘Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we've been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers.
‘With Kindle Fire, you have instant access to all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, the convenience of Amazon Whispersync, our revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, the speed and power of a state-of-the-art dual-core processor, a vibrant touch display with 16 million colors in high resolution, and a light 14.6 ounce design that's easy to hold with one hand - all for only $199. We're offering premium products, and we're doing it at non-premium prices.’
US consumers can pre-order the device through the Amazon website ahead of its 15 November release. Global release dates are yet to be announced.