Tablet news: Kindle Fire officially revealed by Amazon

Hot? Or not? Image: Amazon.

What’s this we spy? After all the so-called ‘iPad killers’ that have come and gone, surely this is not an actual threat to Apple’s dominance in the tablet market. Surely not.

After enjoying unrivalled success with its Kindle reader, online retail giant Amazon has extended its reach into the consumer electronics sector by unveiling its own take on the increasingly popular tablet computer.

Officially announced yesterday during an Amazon media event, the Quanta-made Kindle Fire sports a 7.0-inch full colour capacitive display (1024x600) with IPS technology, is powered by a dual-core OMAP 4 processor, and offers 8GBs of data storage. 

According to Amazon, that 8GBs should be spacious enough to hold 80 software apps along with 10 movies, or 800 music tracks, or 6,000 digital books. We’re a bit perplexed as to why there’s no allowance for memory expansion via microSD.

Other contributing aspects include Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b/g/n), support for USB 2.0, a cloud-accelerated Web browser called Amazon Silk, and a year’s free membership to Amazon Prime. Access to speedy 3G networking is not currently an option.

Unlike other—more muscular—tablets, the Kindle Fire does not currently support the optimised version 3.0 of Google Android (a.k.a. Honeycomb) and instead runs on Amazon’s specially modified take on version 2.3 (a.k.a. Gingerbread).

Clearly keen to ‘big-up’ the Kindle Fire, which costs a tantalising low $199 USD, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezo has lauded it as “an incredible achievement” and a premium product “at a non-premium price”.

Yet, while a fairly warm welcome from industry analysts suggests Amazon’s virgin foray into the tablet arena will indeed help drive sales of Android devices, it’s not expected to mount a serious challenge against Apple’s iPad.

We’ll know exactly how much pull Amazon’s Kindle Fire has with the buying public when it launches on November 15.

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