Tech Talk #6: NEW Amazon Kindle Fire

At last, the Amazon Kindle Fire arrives in the UK!

Amazon’s Kindle… now on Fire in the UK!

Last week, as previously predicted, Amazon unveiled three new Kindle Fire tablets: the Kindle Fire HD, which comes in two size flavours – either 7″ or 8.9″, which means it’s spec’d just below the 9.7″ of the mighty iPad, and a spec upgrade and cost reduction of its original first generation Fire.

Having made the claim that the first gen of Kindle Fire had captured 22% share of the US tablet market (the only country it was ever sold in), the 7″ version will be released in the UK in a 16GB flavour at around £159, and the 1st gen re-boot Kindle Fire at £129. Both will be shipping from 25 October. The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD is only being released in the US, available from November.

So what’s the net effect?

First of all: forget what some analysts are saying – this won’t put a dent in Apple.

Amazon don’t have the gaming or video content that Apple have – only books, which means you may find that some people (like me) will have both. Right now, I’m trying to train myself to replace my laptop with my iPad, which is a struggle with just a 9.7″ screen. Anything smaller won’t do it. But I will have a sub £200 colour screen e-reader for books & magazines that I could, at a push, just squeeze into my jacket pocket.

The Fire HD will be a problem for the rest of the Android and dedicated e-reader market, though. Google have yet to gain any real traction with their Nexus 7 and Samsung are still licking their Galaxy Tab2.7 wounds  – both retail for £199; the similarly pitched Kobo Arc tablet goes for £189. As for the 1st gen reboot, it has more RAM and a faster TI processor than its ancestor but is 20% cheaper, which is really going to put the boot into those horrible monochrome e-ink things that hover around the £80-£130 price curve.

Whilst the spec of the Fire HD is not as good as the Galaxy Tab or Nexus 7, it will feature stereo speakers, an HDMI port (easy connection to HDTV) and a reduced-glare laminated touchscreen overlay. It will also have two bi-directional wi-fi antennas, and MiMo (multiple-input and multiple-output) radio wave technology to improve the DSSS connection to the internet. The bigger 8.9″ US-only model can be bought with 4G as well. An additional great marketing feature is that all the Kindle Fire devices will show “special offer” advertisements on their screens when they are put into “lock mode.”


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