Tablet PCs are getting to be more and more popular nowadays. Every computer manufacturer has its own version, some even available in different sizes. There are a lot of stores selling iPads and tablet PCs. Even e-book readers are already upgraded to enable them to connect to the Internet too, thus the birth of e-book readers with Internet access and a host of other applications. These kinds of e-book readers can already be classified as tablet PCs because they are more powerful than a regular e-book reader and they can do a lot more things. Amazon has its own e-book reader/tablet PC called Kindle Fire, which is an upgraded version of their original e-book reader Kindle.
It was in September 2011 that this Android-based 7-inch tablet PC was announced. It was made available to the public for purchase in November 2011. People were quick to patronize this, especially those who owned the Kindle. You can now also purchase one from those who sell iPad and other tablet PC brands online. Kindle Fire is hoped to eat into Apple’s market share courtesy of the iPad. The other computer manufacturers have their own tablet PCs too that are enjoying its popularity. Amazon’s strategy with the introduction of the Kindle Fire is the same as that of the Kindle. They are planning to make more money with the sales of the digital content through its Amazon Appstore and not with the units it will sell. The last quarter of 2011 was a good time for the Kindle Fire as the sales did well during the last quarter. There were able to sell and ship out 4.7 million units. It did the company good by helping the company boost its stocks in extended trading.
Let’s talk about the specs of this mobile PC. The Kindle Fire’s colored screen has a multi-touch display with IPS technology. The unit has a 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core processor. The 7-inch screen has a resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels. Internal storage is pegged at 8GB. This is enough to hold about 80 applications or 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. It has an 802.11n Wi-Fi and USB 2.0 connectivity option. The 4400-mAh battery can last for up to 8 hours of continuous reading (up to 7.5 hours if used for video playback given that the wireless connection is turned off).
Android’s 2.3 Gingerbread OS powers the Kindle Fire. Access to the Amazon Appstore is available only for US-based customers only. The unit has a built-in browser called Amazon Silk. The built-in email application allows webmail to be merged into one inbox. It also has access to Amazon Prime for unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows but with a fee. It supports a number of e-book, document, picture and audio formats for the content. Some of the supported formats are Kindle Format 8, Kindle Mobi, TXT, PDF, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MP3, MIDI, WAV and MP4.
The proliferations of tablet PCs with similar specs as well as prices are affecting the sales of the Kindle Fire. There are rumors that sales are starting to decline as those who sell iPads and tablet PCs would confirm. However, there are rumors going around that a new Kindle Fire will be released sometime in July or August this year. There is even an article in the China Times about this although Amazon remains mum on this issue because there are no technical specs released yet. It all remains to be seen until we hear from Amazon itself.