Amazon’s new Kindle range

The Kindle Fire’s reasonable price, together with the potential of widespread Android app support, makes the device an enticing option, especially for families who want to give a tablet to the kids without having to blast through five bills. The Kindle Fire is clearly first and foremost an entertainment-consumption companion to Amazon’s services. The ability to install apps and do anything more with the tablet–handling email, sharing photos, and the like–really feels like a secondary operation. At that point it makes me wonder whether the Kindle Fire is truly a “tablet” or just a content-playback machine with some extra smarts.

In many ways, the Kindle Fire isn’t trying to beat the iPad or the Android-tablet masses at their own game. The Kindle Fire is doing its own thing, and going after a totally different audience.

Amazon’s refreshed Kindle e-reader product line has definitely caught my eye this week. In particular, despite its possible limitations, the new Andriod-based full colour Fire (but sans e-ink) “reader” looks like it really could shake up the overall tablet market. I have a family who love to read and its certainly feasible to imagine kitting the family out with the lower priced Kindles (we already have one). Unfortunately, the Fire at this stage will be available from November but only in the US.

Incidentally, there have been a lot of comments that the Fire looks like RIM’s Playbook – apparently its because Amazon enlisted the assistance of the same manufacturer. A few people have also raised concerned about Amazon’s Silk Browser, but I can’t really see any difference (in terms of privacy risk) from other caching, social networking and other proxy services that already exist. If you don’t like the Amazon Web Services (AWS) based acceleration feature, just switch it off or buy a different device 🙂

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