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Amazon Kindle Fire Surfaces 521

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the the-sky-is-red dept.
MrCrassic was the first of several submitters to write in about the Kindle Fire: "It looks like another competitor has joined the fight for tablet market share. Amazon released specs and pics of its newest offering, the Kindle Fire, which is bound to turn heads at $199. However, I wouldn't sell your Nook Color or iPad just yet. From the article: 'The Kindle Fire doesn't have an embedded camera or a microphone. The device offers Wi-Fi connectivity, though not 3G access, and comes with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, the company's $79-a-year membership service that includes streaming video and free two-day shipping.'"
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Amazon Kindle Fire Surfaces

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  • Kindle Touch (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nithin Philips (859095) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:44AM (#37540560) Homepage
    Don't forget Kindle touch wifi for $99, about $30 less than nook touch wifi.
    • Re:Kindle Touch (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:16PM (#37540994)

      Am I the only one who actually *liked* the physical keyboard and buttons on the old Kindle? I don't want my greasy fingerprints all over my screen and I like the tactile feel of a physical keyboard. And the Kindle's physical keyboard was a pretty good one too.

      • by demonbug (309515)

        Am I the only one who actually *liked* the physical keyboard and buttons on the old Kindle? I don't want my greasy fingerprints all over my screen and I like the tactile feel of a physical keyboard. And the Kindle's physical keyboard was a pretty good one too.

        According to Amazon.com the old version - now referred to as the "Kindle Keyboard/Keyboard 3G" is still available, at the same price as the Touch.

    • by bsharitt (580506)

      The ad-free version is still the same as the Nook Touch.

  • Was I the only one who read the headline and thought it was about exploding lithium batteries?
    • That was my first thought, too. I think it's a catchy name but the headline was confusing at first glance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:50AM (#37540642)
    I'm already sick of hearing people bitch about how it doesn't have a camera and how you can't make Skype calls with it. It's not intended to do that. Amazon is selling it purely as a media consumption device to get you to use all their media services (video, audio, books, etc).
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:54AM (#37540700) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps they're bitching that it's yet another device that can act as a roadblock for people who want to climb from consumption to creation. Some people will end up owning only devices for consumption; if they want to create, they'll have to either pony up for something else or just do without creating. And if the market for devices capable of creation shrinks, prices for such devices will likely rise due to loss of economies of scale.
      • by Jherico (39763) <bdavis AT saintandreas DOT org> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:01PM (#37540764) Homepage
        This device lacks a camera and a microphone. As far as I know it still has access to an app store, so if you want to create on it you can use any app that allows you to do so (that doesn't require a camera or a microphone). If you desperately want to create photo based or audio based content there are plenty of cheap options to do so.
        • As far as I know it still has access to an app store, so if you want to create on it you can use any app that allows you to do so

          Does it also support sideloading through "Unknown sources" or "adb install"? If not, your ability to create is subject to the application acceptance policy of Amazon Appstore.

          • by Jherico (39763)
            I'll tell you on Nov 16.
        • by vlm (69642)

          If you desperately want to create photo based or audio based content there are plenty of cheap options to do so.

          There are plenty of BETTER options to do so. I have an ipod touch with a cam and mic, those are just horrible. I don't want to see the trash that comes from those, not from my i-device, not from anyones i-device.

          Its like saying we'll all be content creators like Michelangelo if cell phone providers merely gave out finger paints and crayolas with each phone.

        • by maxume (22995)

          Tepples stock and trade is hypothetical morons doing advanced things.

          • by tepples (727027)
            That's because if a solution handles more edge cases, it probably handles the common case more robustly as well.
            • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:23PM (#37542048)

              That's because if a solution handles more edge cases, it probably handles the common case more robustly as well.

              That is the classic definition of "feature creep", and usually means it is too complex for most people to use or simply does nothing well.

              Handling more edge cases means you spent less time worrying about core functionality.

        • by farble1670 (803356) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:34PM (#37542188)

          As far as I know it still has access to an app store

          no, it doesn't. it does not have any google apps.
          http://searchengineland.com/amazon-android-tablet-undermines-google-94664 [searchengineland.com]

          that's common sense. amazon wants to drive people to amazon books sales not google books, to amazon appstore, not google market, to amazon VOD, not google movies.

          will you be able to get google market through some sort of hack? probably.

      • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:11PM (#37540924) Homepage

        Perhaps they're bitching that it's yet another device that can act as a roadblock for people who want to climb from consumption to creation.

        I have a hack saw and its getting in my way from cutting through a 6x6 &lt/sarcasm&gt.

        People aspiring to climb from consumption to creation should be savvy enough to get equipment that enables them to do so instead of getting equipment such as this which is not intended for that purpose. Fascinating idea, I know!

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Anything which does not support my ideals is opposed to it. Pluralism is weakness. Your ass will be laminated. Resistance is futile.

        • by tepples (727027)

          People aspiring to climb from consumption to creation should be savvy enough to get equipment that enables them to do so

          For one thing, how can people necessarily know one or two years in advance that they want to start creating?

          instead of getting equipment such as this which is not intended for that purpose.

          The idea is to be able to start creating with what you already own.

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            For one thing, how can people necessarily know one or two years in advance that they want to start creating?

            How are Amazon meant to? I might decide to take up writing in two years, I don't see a citation management application built into any of the current tablets.

      • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:19PM (#37541028)

        If your choice of tablet computer is a barrier to creating content - photos and videos, no less - I humbly suggest that you were probably not going to create anything on it in the first place. People who want to make things go out and make them, they don't make creativity-themed rationalisations about their gadget purchases.

      • When I buy used paper books from amazon it's because I want to consume their knowledge. Once I have that knowledge, I'll use the proper tool (usually a computer) to create content.

        I think you're misunderstanding the purpose of this device.

    • It has applications that let you browse the web and use email. That makes this a credible alternative to a PC desktop or laptop for most people out there.

    • by alispguru (72689) <bane AT gst DOT com> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:02PM (#37541760) Journal

      Get the basics right (UI, wifi, app store, media store) first.

      Next year it gets the camera/microphone, tempting people to upgrade.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@@@ema...il> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:51AM (#37540666) Journal
    I posted this as the news were coming in; more details were released during the conference.
    Links:
  • by jbarr (2233) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:52AM (#37540672) Homepage

    If you buy one of everything (wifi models only) that Amazon announced today, it is cheaper than the low end iPad.

    • by vlm (69642)

      My mom always said, "Jim, you're 1 in a million." Given the current population, there are 6000 of me. God help us all!

      There's darn near 7000 now; update your sig

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:53AM (#37540684) Homepage Journal

    Can I root it and put the Android App store on it? I know not yet but hopefully someday.
    The Silk browser sounds very Opera like from the mobile days.
    OMAP 4! That is a pretty hot CPU folks.
    Lack of a front facing camera is a negative. Come on this is pure skype candy folks.

    My wife as a rooted viewsonic Gtab and it is really nice but it is too big for for an ereader.
    The iPad2 is too pricey and too big.
    Even if it isn't hackable at $199 I may still get it just because it would be so handy.

    • It comes with Amazon's app market. Most of the apps all of us use on android market are there already. This is a platform to help sell products. Much the same way that the Xbox and the PS3 sell at low margins for the purpose of selling product. If you use Amazon regularly (especially amazon prime, with product shipping discounts) this is actually a great product in itself. If you don't, then it is still a nice (very basic) tablet. I would have hoped that it were thinner though.

    • Can I root it and put the Android App store on it? I know not yet but hopefully someday.

      As soon as they want me to buy one. I've got a Nook Color with the Kindle app on it - they're not missing out on anything other than perhaps pushing the Amazon app store.

      OMAP 4! That is a pretty hot CPU folks.

      The OMAP 3 in the Nook Color does pretty well, so this should indeed be very nice.

      Lack of a front facing camera is a negative. Come on this is pure skype candy folks.

      yeah, you and I would gladly pay an extra $30 fo

  • Here's the link to the product page [amazon.com] on Amazon if anyone is interested.
  • I think the device is pretty decent, but the thing I thought would really have them selling like hotcakes was coming with prime... but I thought it would be more like a year, not 30 days. I don't think 30 days is enough time to really appreciate Prime and get used to random things being practical to get from Amazon because they come so quickly...

    I think it should have been at least 90 days.

    With it being a 7 inch tablet, and a short Prime trial I'm not sure how it will fare. I think it probably has a much

  • It could run on small insects fed on sugar drops and users wouldn't care - so touting it as an Android-powered device seems to be something Amazon is trying to avoid, this is purely a media consumption device... the same goes for the spec, users don't care as long as it feeds them content well. http://www.cmswire.com/cms/mobile/amazons-199-kindle-fire-to-spark-the-tablet-market-012847.php [cmswire.com]
    • by vlm (69642)

      It could run on small insects fed on sugar drops and users wouldn't care - so touting it as an Android-powered device seems to be something Amazon is trying to avoid

      Average user off the street, like my android phone using sister in law:

      Android = expensive little smart phone = have to sign a two year contract = minimum extra $100/month bill to own a "Android Kindle Amazon thing", right?

      Two year contract at over $100 plus a couple hundred to buy means its gonna cost around $2000 to have one of these things before loading anything on to it; is it worth two grand?

      Also Android = smart phone = battery only lasts a couple hours = gotta charge it every day. Its enough of a PI

  • That's a feature, not a bug. I don't need a built in camera.

    "comes with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime,"

    Which any Amazon customer can get anyway. Do they take any money off for those who already subscribe to Prime?

    Most important for me, does it have memory expansion via SDHC or microSDHC ?

    • I for one love that they are offering it without a camera and microphone (and without 3G). I don't want to pay for features that don't match my use case, which is me using this on my home wifi or places that also have wifi.

  • by pablodiazgutierrez (756813) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:01PM (#37540758) Homepage

    One interesting differentiator with respect to other Android devices is the Silk browser [wordpress.com]. I'd like to get one in my hands to verify that allegedly reduced page loading time. That's what's killing me when I use my mobile devices.

  • by joh (27088) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:03PM (#37540802)

    No Skype, Fring or anything (no mic, no camera). No Google apps, so no navigation, no email (without third-party apps) and calendaring. No mobile internet at all.

    Surely not a bad media-tablet and surely cheap, but a tablet computer this is not.

    Looks to me as if it would require some major tinkering to turn it into something fun and useful and you'll still have no 3G, no camera and no microphone.

    • There's a browser and email. The page on amazon specifically states these things, including that you can check Gmail with it.

    • No Google apps, so no navigation, no email (without third-party apps) and calendaring.

      But it will have access to all of that through the Amazon app store, so it's kind of moot.

      Yeah, it's WiFi only, but the the trade off to being limited in where you can connect is faster speeds and better battery life, especially if it is going to be using Amazon's cloud services to do heavy lifting. Heck, a lot of tablet devices don't come with 3g and a lot of customers like it that way; paying for a data plan for this tablet would more than double it's cost in the first year. No camera and no microphone

  • I'm going to wait to see if things can be sideloaded onto this. I have a few custom applications that it would be nice to run without having to publish them in Amazon Appstore. I see rumors, but waiting to see if it's true.

  • I mean really. Who's buying the iPad for the high quality camera and microphone.

    And for the extra $300, you can buy a digital tape recorder and a digital camera, and have enough left over for dinner. I'm sure there's a site [amazon.com] that can help you find those (except for dinner).
  • Sure, we'll give you web access....through our prefect system.

    Then there's the hardware spec. 1024x600 screen, 8 gigs internal storage (free cloud storage for *amazon* content) and no camera.

    The dual core tegras are nice, but that's about it. I told someone earlier today. This isn't Hiroshima or Nagasaki, it's more like 6:00am on the Normandy (or Dieppe) beaches. The iPad is still going to dominate for a long time, but there might finally be a legit contender on the horizon

  • It doesn't look like this thing has bluetooth, which limits its usefulness. While it *does* have a USB port, there's no mention of what types of devices are supported via USB.

    Can I plug in a flash drive? A USB keyboard? A printer? -- heck, can I attach this tablet to a USB hub and access all my regular peripherals? Or is the USB port just for charging up the tablet?

    See, I'm looking for a nice portable terminal to SSH to my servers -- and while a tablet seems like a good idea for this role, it needs to allow

  • It brings us all sorts of great stuff and it keeps getting cheaper.

    In other news health "insurance" has gone up 9% in the past year.

    • It brings us all sorts of great stuff and it keeps getting cheaper.

      In other news health "insurance" has gone up 9% in the past year.

      That's because the web tablet market is heavily regulated, ensuring low prices, and the insurance industry isn't.

      Sheesh, where did you go to school?

  • you can't load your own content directly on it. You first have to upload that to 'the cloud' where it will be inaccessible the moment you lose connectivity. (Yes, I know, every slashdotter has a wifi hotspot in their car and backyard. You all have no objections to paying $10/hour for really slow wifi on an airplane, either.)

    Unlike the Nook, you can't put in extra storage with a mircoSD card.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It has 8GB of onboard storage and if it's anything like the original Kindles it'll show up as a USB mass storage device and accept the specific range of document files it's designed to display.

  • Drop the frills like GPS and camera. Maybe not enough horsepower for gaming and video. How much of a market will there be for a half-price device?

    Its like giving away the razor to sell the blades. Both Apple and Amazon make about 30% on content. They expect to double their return within years with content sales.
  • by m.dillon (147925) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:31PM (#37541234) Homepage

    Ok, I understand the price point is very good, but this device doesn't even compete with the iPad 1. It basically just competes against the Kindle and the color Nook.

    * No video output that I can see (vs the ipad's composite output)
    * No TV box streaming solution (vs airplay)
    * Is there even any blue tooth for wireless audio?
    * No 3G, it is wifi only
    * Only 8G of storage (vs max of 64G for iPad 1/2)
    * GPS? Accelerometers? Compass? Microphone?
    * Short battery life when wifi is enabled. 8 hours is only with wifi turned off. The kindle is made for off-line reading and is great with wifi turned off, but this device is worthless with wifi turned off.

    Let alone compete with the iPad 2 with it's front and rear facing cameras for video calls. And both the iPad 1 and 2 have cheap ($25/mo for 2G) 3G data plans for when you aren't in wifi range. I usually don't use more than ~200MB outside of wifi range but it's damned convenient. Even with just my android phone I run Pandora and Google maps in the car all the time, and on longer trips with passengers having the iPad with google maps and internet surfing is great fun.

    I use my iPad every day and I guarantee you that while the video might be nice on these devices, you really really want video output solution like Apple's AirPlay and Apple's composite outputs when you want to sit down and stream a show from your pad to your home TV.

    Amazon has a ways to go.

    -Matt

    • by Apotsy (84148)
      In the past, I always knew Apple had come out with a great device when people tried to disparage it using checklists of features that it didn't have. The fact that the roles are now reversed and people are doing it regarding a potentially competing device is a sign that Amazon has a serious challenger to the Apple iPad on its hands.

      I wouldn't consider most of the things you listed dealbreakers except than perhaps AirPlay, which Amazon could always add later via a software update. The storage capacity and
  • All the prices I have seen are taking into account the lower priced versions with the on screen advertizing. Is that new to the kindle?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      No, they introduced it last year. However this is the first time that those prices have been used as the "base" price when announcing a model.

  • by joshamania (32599) <jggramlich@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#37541324) Homepage

    I've a Nook Color and considering its behavior after rooting, I have to think that B&N went out of their way to make their software jive well with rooting. I rooted mine as soon as I could and it's worked well but for a few app compatibility snags with random crap from the Android market....whaddyagonnado?

    If Amazon has half a brain they'll play nice with rooting. I'm sure they'll lock down their own apps and cloud access, but why not let their apps run on someone else's Android build? They have to know that as soon as this thing has an easy root, plenty of folks will buy Kindle Fires so they can have a brilliant Android tablet for $200...and they'll still buy Amazon products, because it'll be easy as all get out....just like rooting the Nook Color...unless they're stupid, which doesn't fit their track record.

  • Bad Karma (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:33PM (#37542176)
    Am I the only one that half-wishes the Kindle Fire has overheating problems?
  • by slapout (93640) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:21PM (#37544148)

    From the product page:

    "System Requirements None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer."
     

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