By Andrew Liszewski
Even with an iPhone 5 or 4S probably being announced next week, I think Amazon may have just won the Christmas shopping season this year. They might not be able to keep a product as secret as Apple can, but their new Kindle Fire certainly has what it takes to compete with the iPad juggernaut as far as I’m concerned. If the HP/PalmOS escapade taught us anything, it’s that people are happy to snap up a tablet if it’s cheap, even if it’s not running iOS. But besides the astounding $199 price tag, it looks like Amazon is the first company to finally wrangle Android into a user experience that can rival what the iPad has to offer.
I’ve personally concluded that the iPad is too large for the way I want to use it. But the Kindle Fire, with its 7-inch multitouch, 1024×600 resolution display, sounds just about right. Of course it lacks a camera, GPS, 3G, video out and a lot of the frills that have become commonplace on other tablets these days. But I won’t miss them if their departure is what contributed to the Kindle Fire’s cheap(er) price tag.
It’s powered by a dual core processor which probably means the Kindle, at least this version, can finally handle PDFs with ease. And it even seems like Amazon has put a lot of work into making it great for surfing the web thanks to its new Surf browser which shares the load of accessing and processing a website between the tablet and the company’s cloud computing backend. While its 8 GB of storage might seem a little anemic in this day and age, the Fire is designed to be heavily integrated with Amazon’s Cloud service. So in theory you can keep all of your content off-device, but still access it as long as you have a wifi connection.
If anything, the Kindle Fire is the first non-Apple tablet to be announced that doesn’t make my eyes completely glaze over in utter apathy. Amazon may have raised the white flag when it comes to the tech spec war, but their decision to instead fight the content battle is sure to pay off in the long run. And like I said, if that November 15 ship date doesn’t slip, they’ll have no problem selling thousands of these before the end of the year.