Amazon have been working hard over the past 12 months developing the new Kindle Fire. The long-awaited Android tablet offers some impressive features and has definitely provided some welcome competition for the E-reader and tablet world.

 Amazon Kindle Fire

The Facts

The original Kindle e-reader was a huge success initially and has been accredited with changing the face of the book and magazine publishing world. Amazon's new challenge was to follow up with a model that would dispel the criticism of its former offering. Enter the Kindle Fire.

  • The Kindle Fire offers a top-level mash up of multimedia content all in a 7-inch sleek case.
  • With the Android 2.3 Gingerbread design users are getting a hell of a lot of power for almost half the price of top competitors like the iPad.
  • Amazon can do what the other affordable tablet manufacturers have not yet achieved. They offer a built-in infrastructure of books, apps, movies and magazines combined with cutting edge mobile technology.
  • Amazon are marketing the Kindle Fire along similar lines as the original e-reader. Pricing is low and makes it one of the first really affordable power-packed tablets on the market.
  • By taking a hit on the hardware Amazon hope to smash the marketplace open and finally take on the dominance of the iPad.
  • Apple has no reason to make the iPad more affordable. This could ultimately be their Achilles heel if Amazon's Kindle Fire lives up to its expectations.

The Hardware

The Kindle Fire boasts a high quality colour screen, the first Kindle to do so. The 1024 x 600 display is at the smaller end of the tablet scale but offers crisp graphics and an impressive resolution.

  • The Android 2.3 Gingerbread whilst not the latest tablet centric software on the market, works well. Amazon have made this work for them by introducing an excellent custom built interface.
  • The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, a big plus for new users.
  • The matt casing has a wonderfully soft, rubberised finish, making the Kindle Fire comfortable to hold and durable.
  • At just 431g this device still feels very much like the original Kindle, combine this with the comfortable grip and you can hold the Kindle Fire for as long as you want.
  • The minimalist design means that there are no volume switches or screen locks on the exterior shell. The power switch is the only physical button and this creates a very sleek overall design.
  • The Kindle Fire can be charged via the USB port and also features a headphone jack. Listen to the Kindle on speaker with two small but powerful speaker units integrated at the top of the device.
  • Unfortunately there are no camera or microphone functions, however Amazon has clearly targeted the Kindle Fire towards media consumption rather than communication.
  • The 1GHz dual core OMAP processor is impressive and offers similar processing power to the iPad.
  • The Kindle Fire only allows for 8GB of storage space on the hard-drive which is a bit less than some of the other competitive Honeycomb tablets. This is compounded by the fact there is no SD card slot to store data externally.
  • That said 8GB should be more than adequate for the average user and with the cloud you can always make use of online storage facilities.

A device I can see growing in popularity over the course of the next year and an item that will decorate many a Christmas wish list this year and next.