Amazon announced two new additions to the Kindle Family today. One is Kindle Touch (without the keyboard) and the other is Kindle Fire--a full color, seven inch, WiFi-enabled multi touch tablet running on the Android OS.
But, if you read the specifications on Amazon's webpage, you will see no overt reference to Android OS and only peripheral reference to the Android Appstore. It has some interesting features and is an innovative challenger in the multitouch tablet space.
|Amazon Kindle Fire Technical Details|
|Stunning Color Touchscreen|
|Favorite Apps and Games|
|E-Mail and Apps (Amazon Appstore for Android)|
|Magazines in Rich Color|
|Fast, Dual-Core Processor|
|Millions of Books (Amazon's Strength)|
|Free Cloud Storage (Another of Amazon's Strength)|
|Fast Web Browsing with Silk (Cloud-Accelerated) Browser|
|Streaming Movies Across Devices (Amazon Whispersync)|
It is clear that Amazon has leveraged many of its strengths--its collection of digital content (books, music, games and movies), Amazon Cloud Storage and Whispersync to automatically sync library, last page read, bookmarks and also videos. Furthermore, it has innovated by creating Amazon Silk -- a cloud-accelerated browser to leverage the speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud (in the process, creating tighter integration between its tablet and its cloud). The Android OS is curiously not mentioned as significant. Incidentally, the only place that Android is mentioned is in reference to the 'Amazon Appstore for Android.'
In terms of connectivity, this device is not linked to any cellular network. It works only on WiFi, thereby Amazon has eliminated any need to partner with telecom operators such as AT&T or Verizon. And, Amazon Prime customers get access to their digital content at no extra charge, thereby integrating traditional services with new digital, tablet-based features (unlike Netflix, which is seeking to split digital streaming from DVD-by-Mail operations).
With Kindle Fire, Amazon is firmly positioned to compete in the digital sector. Priced at $199, Fire is positioned at a different price point from Apple iPad and Android tablets from Samsung, HTC and others. Now, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony eReader and others have to follow suit.
From the point of view of tablet manufacturers, it will be interesting to see how they compete against Fire in terms of the aggressive price point--albeit without communication and collaboration functionality. Eighteen months after Apple announced iPad with an aggressive $499 price point, Amazon has introduced a compelling alternative at an aggressive price point supported by extensive library of digital content and powerful cloud functionality.