Amazon has officially unveiled the Kindle Fire — its new 7 inch tablet. As expected, it basically looks like a BlackBerry PlayBook — you know, if the BlackBerry PlayBook ran a customized version of Android and tied into Amazon’s app store, movie store, music store, eBook store, and digital newsstand.
The Kindle Fire will be available November 15th. It’s available for pre-order for $199.
The tablet has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS Gorilla Glass display, a dual-core processor, and weighs just 14.6 ounces. Amazon is positioning it as sort of a Kindle for all the different types of digital content the company offers.
While the original Kindle devices were simply eBook apps, it’s been a long time since Amazon was just a book store. The company offers over 100,000 movies and TV shows for download, and if you pay $79 per year for an Amazon Prime membership you can stream 11,000 of them for free.
There are more than a million songs in the Amazon MP3 music store. And there are millions of books in the Kindle eBook store.
Amazon also has one of the strongest cloud-based platforms around, so one of the benefits of buying a device tied to Amazon services is that whenever you purchase an app, movie, song, or magazine, it’s stored in your online account.
You can download it and access it on any device running Amazon software (including iOS or Android phones or tablets) and even sync your last read page across all the devices you’re using to read a book. Videos work the same way — you can start watching on one device and continue on another.
You can also delete content from your device and easily re-download it at any time.
This is the sort of functionality Apple is building into its iCloud service for iOS devices, but Kindle Fire users will get them all on day one… because they’re really just extensions of services that Amazon already offers.
Amazon also introduced a new web browser for the Kindle Fire. It’s called Amazon Silk, and it uses Amazon’s EC2 service to accelerate web browsing by rendering web pages on a remote server before sending them to your device.
This is pretty much what the Opera Mini and Skyfire web browsers do, and it seems strange to see Amazon offer it today when mobile web browsers do a pretty good job of rendering web content. But Amazon is making the case that the Kindle Fire isn’t just a device, it’s a service — and it’s a cloud service at that. So using cloud features even in the web browser makes sense… I guess.