Kindle Fire turns up heat on competition

Amazon has finally unveiled its new colour tablet, the Kindle Fire, as it prepares to lock horns with a number of industry leaders on various fronts in what is a ferociously competitive market.

The new device, already being touted as stiff competition to the market dominance of Apple’s iPad, will be available to purchase for roughly $300 less than the cheapest Apple equivalent.

Kindle is already a well established brand, with the new Fire model standing on the shoulders of several generations of popular black and white e-reader tablets, essentially passive media consumption devices.

Rival content publishers like the movie streaming service NetFlix, or US bookseller Barnes & Noble, which has its own tablet device, will be well aware of Amazon’s formidable media offering.

The Kindle catalogue boasts of almost a million e-books, the Amazon MP3 store offers over 17 million tracks and Amazon Instant Video can stream 11,000+ movies and TV shows.

Running on a modified version of Google’s Android operating system, the Kindle Fire is a WiFi only device and incorporates a 7” colour screen. The aesthetic design is very similar to RIM’s Blackberry Playbook, which is unsurprising as both devices are made by Quanta.

 “The iPad is an application-focused platform that does entertainment content really well,” said Industry Analyst Randy Giusto. “The Kindle Fire is an entertainment consumption-focused platform that doesn’t do apps very well, but has email.

“Kindle Fire competes with the iPad as far as accessible movie and TV titles but it’s a different twist on the tablet, which is exactly what the market needs,” he added.

“It is a stripped down offering. No camera, Bluetooth, 3G or 4G, video chat, and it has the 7” display that Steve Jobs laughed at. But for many consumers who can’t afford an iPad, it puts a tablet in their hands.”

Global release dates are not yet available, though the Fire device will be available for purchase in the US on November 15 for around $199. “These are premium products at non premium prices,” said Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. “We are going to sell millions of these.”

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