Today, at an Amazon event in New York City (read our liveblog), Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle Fire, a new media tablet that pulls together all of Amazon’s media services from the cloud. These include 18 million digital books, movies, songs, magazines, apps, and games.
The $199 Kindle Fire is designed to tap into all of the digital media products and services Amazon has been building for the past few years: Amazon Web Services, Instant Video, Kindle Books, Amazon’s MP3 music store, cloud storage, and Android app store. Oh, and it’s got a brand new Amazon Silk mobile browser that takes advantage of EC2 to load pages faster on the device.
When Amazon was designing the Fire, CEO Jeff Bezos says they asked themselves, “Is there some way we can bring all of these together into a remarkable product offering customers will love?”
You can read Kindle books on the Fire, but if that is all you need it for you will probably better off getting a $99 Kindle Touch. The Fire is for reading, plus everything else. The homepage is a bookshelf with all of your media—from books and games to music and movies—that you can swipe through in Coverflow fashion, starting with the most recent first. All of your media is also backed up and synced wirelessly in the cloud. “You can delete it and get it back when you want,” notes Bezos.
The Kindle Fire comes with a free one-month trial to Amazon Prime (including Instant Videos), as well as free three-month trials to all 17 Conde Nast magazines in its newsstand. Amazon is really using the Fire as a way to wrap and present all of its digital media services , and offering free trials to get people to try them.
Just as the Kindle includes Whispersync for books, which allows you to pick up reading no matter what device you are using, the Fire does the same thing for movies. You can begin watching on your tablet and then continue on your laptop or Internet-connected TV. The Kindle Fire relies on WiFi, a 3G version was not announced. The device ships on November 15.
The Kindle Fire is pretty much as we’ve been describing it. The Fire has a good chance at being the best Android-based tablet out of the gate. Not just because of the fine-tuned software, but because of all the media you can get on it. Of course, it makes it really easy to buy all of that media from Amazon. But just as Apple builds superior product by integrating the software, hardware, its Web-based store, so too is Amazon trying to do the same thing. And all at an affordable price.
“We are building premium products at non-premium prices,” Bezos repeated a few times during his presentation. His message seemed to be that in an Amazon world you can have the best of both.
Update: Below is a video demo of the Kindle Fire: