The Kindle Fire is a mini tablet computer that was released in the United States on November 15, 2011. On September 7, 2012, updates became available to areas where the Amazon website is accessible. The Kindle Fire has a color seven-inch multi-touch touchscreen; it can be used to stream movies and TV shows, read Kindle e-books, and includes access to the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon’s tactic for offering the Kindle Fire at such a low cost, was to make their profits from the sale of the content instead of the Kindle itself. On September 6, 2012, Amazon reduced the price of the device to $159.00, with a RAM upgrade to 1 GB, and a processor upgrade to 1.2 Ghz. As of October 2012, around seven million devices were sold, second only to Apple’s iPad.
The Fire can access the internet by Wi-Fi or a USB connection. It has 8 GB of internal storage, 6.5 GB available, enough for 80 applications, plus ten movies or 800 songs, or 6,000 e-books. The battery life is up to eight hours of consecutive reading and up to 7.5 hours of video with the wireless turned off. The original Fire had an ambient light sensor on the upper left corner, but with the software upgrade it was disabled.
The Fire used a customized Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, upgraded to the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS for the second generation. Available software includes, Amazon Silk’s split browser, Amazon EC2, and Google’s SPDY for faster webpage transmission. It also includes free storage at Amazon Cloud’s web storage platform and 5 GB of music storage in Amazon Cloud Drive.
It has a built-in e-mail merger that will combine multiple e-mail platforms, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., into one inbox. Amazon Prime is included as a free trial, that lets the user stream unlimited movies and TV shows. The current version of the Kindle Fire OS is 6.3.1.
The Kindle Fire offers multiple content formats for audio, video, and image displays and downloads. Download speeds suffer though from the USB driver, for example it could take three minutes or more to download an 800MB video.
Image Caption: Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Credit: Amazon