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Amazon Unveils $199 Kindle Fire Tablet (bloomberg.com)
391 points by rkudeshi on Sept 28, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 308 comments



Bezos, on Amazon's refreshed e-Ink readers:

So meet the family. These are premium products at non-premium prices. People are going to love these products.

This is Amazon's mission statement for product development. They will not compete with Apple's "revolutionary, magical" phones and tablets; instead, they'll sell quality tablets and readers to the average person at great prices. This populist attitude has been missing from the tablet market since the iPad's release.

The Fire will be the first successful Android tablet because the user base already exists. With the last few Kindle generations, Amazon has groomed customers to pay for electronic content. These users will buy Kindle Fires and e-Ink Kindles in droves, buy more books, and tell their friends.

At this price, Amazon won't steal Apple's customers. They will simply introduce a new segment of people to the tablet market. Developers need to think about this as another golden ticket. Here's the iOS gold rush, part deux.

EDIT: changed "luxurious" to "revolutionary" after reading a comment below. I need more coffee.


The most interesting thing to me is that the Fire doesn't seem to have pretensions about replacing computing, though it theoretically could just as much an iPad or Android tablet. There's an app store, but they seem to be only pushing games on it, and the main thrust seems to sit squarely on consumption.

Especially at this price point, it's not a replacement for a computer, it's squarely a supplement.

I think I prefer this vision to Apple's. It feels more democratic in that I think the iPad wants to replace computing, but privilege consumption at the expense of production.

Amazon's vision is still one of centralized distribution of content, but it strikes me as one that's comfortable coexisting with the Web model of distributed, democratic content production.

Some earlier discussion on the topic: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2955516

[Edit: Here's another take by Nilay Patel of This Is My Next on a similar point: http://thisismynext.com/2011/09/28/editorial-kindle-fire-ipa... ]


Totally agree with this insight. One of the fallouts of the tech bubble and ubiquitious computing trend was that it became so 'cheap' to add programability features and customization that everything got more computer like. The backlash, things like the cell phones for elderly people which act like 'normal' phones was the result.

Also the market seems to be pushing back on things like TVs that are also internet browsers.

So the vision here is very important, and the Kindle as simply a window that lets you look at the books you have is pretty compelling. The $80 ad supported one, I want an open source text book library for that. The school district can give those to every student and save money.


"school district can give those to every student"

How cool would that be! My library finally got the overdrive support so I wanted to check out an e-book (an audiobook) to try out on my kindle/iphone. And found a nice book that I wanted to read and the page says, "available copies : 0, library copies : 1, No. of patrons in waiting list : 23, Click here to add yourself to the waiting list".

File this under w.t.f.


Yeah, its a weird (and stupid) system. Libraries are toeing a fine line between getting sued vs not. They only got agreement for 'lending' ebooks if they set up a system like real books where if its out, you can't borrow it. This from the head librarian at the Sunnyvale Library at least.


I agree that it's silly from a technological point of view, but the libraries are at the mercy of publishers, and what else can the publishers do, really? If they let libraries "lend" out unlimited copies of books, who would buy them?


As someone said recently, if libraries didn't already exist, publishers would be doing their best to stop them happening.


The business model to compete with Apple has been known for extremely long: offer lesser products at lesser prices. Everyone else failed at the "lesser price" part.

Amazon can pull it off, because they don't need to make money with the tablet: as long as it sells ebooks and movies, it remains profitable for them. Since there's nobody to challenge them on this market, they will get the volumes to drive the BOM prices down, too.

HP hadn't the option to make money by selling ink cartridges for subsidized tablets, as they used to do with printers...


Since there's nobody to challenge them on this market, they will get the volumes to drive the BOM prices down, too.

Barnes & Noble is in this space too, and they have hundreds of stores that will serve as points-of-sale for the Nook. Don't forget them.

EDIT: apologies to the European HNers. Still, those B&M stores in America are incredibly popular, making it easier for Barnes & Noble to find new Nook users.


> Still, those B&M stores in America are incredibly popular

They're actually an albatross. Ask Borders how popular physical book stores are. B&N is only still alive because of its digital business. Barely alive too, Amazon is 150x larger in terms of market cap. Digital sales are up, physical sales are down and at the end of the quarter they are losing a lot of money.

The Kindle line is sold in Target. I'd wager Targets are more popular and will be around longer than B&N. Even better, it doesn't cost Amazon a dime to keep Target stores open.


>Even better, it doesn't cost Amazon a dime to keep Target stores open.

Since vendors often pay retailers for prime shelf space, Amazon might in fact contribute to keeping Target stores open. Still, I get what you mean.


Agreed. I can't help but think Apple has to be paying Target something for the 10 foot long Apple-branded cases/displays for the iPad/iPod lines. Maybe Target would pay for that themselves to have the privilege of selling ipads, but I'd be less surprised if Apple was paying for the space.


I'm not in the USA, so I don't know B&N (although my company provides some of the hardware in the Nook).

However, B&N's main advantage compared to Amazon is its network of B&M stores, right? Now, the bet here is "let's lose money on the tablet, and hope that people buy tons of ebooks".

I'd guess that people for whom the existence of B&M stores is important aren't going to be the biggest ebook buyers: they'll be more into dead tree books, on average. If B&N subsidizes their Nook, and it's only used as a web browser, B&N has lost.


Barnes & Noble also has in-store cafes and their in-store Wi-Fi offers Nook users free reading and coupons for goodies in the store. I'm not sure how many people take them up on it, but it seems like they are at least playing with a business model.


B&N doesn't have the operational chops that Amazon does. Its going to take more than Brick & Mortar to make a dent in the tablet market. B&N will fight with Dell for table scraps while Amazon and Apple each capture sizeable, material share. I wrote a bit about why I think Amazon is going to kill this on my blog earlier today - http://www.byte.org/2011/09/28/amazon-coming-into-its-own/ - tl;dr: Amazon is one of the few tech companies with the ops and distribution chops in the same league as Apple.


How true. I had to buy a heap of textbooks recently, and had a discount coupon for B&N, so I decided to give them a try instead of just buying from Amazon as I had originally intended.

Bad idea. I saved about $75, but had to deal with billing errors, cancellation of part of my order, slow and overpriced shipping, and that cost me several hours of my valuable time. I was astonished at how poor the experience was.


I buy as much as I can on Amazon now - with Prime it is a no-brainer...

This is after wondering why I could order books from Amazon and they arrived 9am the next day (the joys of living in a teeny country like the UK :P) but when I ordered X other thing from different sites it took days, and was full of mistakes.

Amazon have absolutely nailed the shipping side of online retail - which is usually what people most complain about in retailers, after all!


Barnes & Noble is only america right? I have never seen a Barnes & Noble store anywhere in europ, were as amazon is very commen in europe. Thats not a small market.


Europe is a bigger market than the US is.


I'm in London. Where's my nearest B&N so I can go and pick one up?


Right next to the Amazon store ;-)


Touché! :-)

Seriously though, do Barnes and Noble actually sell the Nook to international customers? They certainly don't market it over here, while Amazon have run quite a lot of TV and print ads. Buy the look of it I'd have to buy the device and books in US dollars instead of my local currency. These things don't give me the feeling that B&N are serious about sales outside the US, while Amazon definitely are.


no, the whole nook ecosystem is US-only. we don't even get it in canada.


I'm in Australia. My local supermarket sells Kindles (woolworths). So does the local electronics store owned by the same brand (Dick Smiths).

What's this Nook thing you're talking about?


Borders Australia, may it rest in peace with it's absurd over RRP pricing policy, sold them.


I think you might be confused with this: http://www.koboereader.com


You jest, but I think an Amazon store could be a cool idea -- they simply stock a revolving selection of their best rated books from every genre.


In Seattle we have Amazon Fresh, which is home grocery delivery. I can generally get next-day delivery, so I can order groceries and anything else they have in the local warehouse (books, movies, whatever) and have it sitting on my doorstep by 6am the next day.

I can't imagine living my life without it. Seriously.


Opening physical Amazon stores would trigger a sales tax requirement in every state where it operates, regardless of whether or not Amazon is able to negotiate a federal override of the state right to collect taxes on e-commerce.


States do not have the right to tax Amazon, if Amazon does not have a physical presence in their state. That's not a "federal override" but rather is part of the constitution and is a protection against every state collecting taxes on every business across the country. No taxation without representation.

States do have a right to tax their individual citizens who purchase online. Unfortunately, most citizens do not comply with these state taxes (called "use taxes" because they aren't on a sale, the sale occurs out-of-state).


>they have hundreds of stores that will serve as points-of-sale for the Nook.

I've seen Kindles in Wal-marts and Targets recently.


> Everyone else failed at the "lesser price" part.

Apple's operational mastery and their cornering of the NAND flash market in particular is a big part of this.


And their mastery of PR is a big part of why the transition from Jobs to Cook has gone so smoothly ...


WRONG.

Tim Cook has been running operations at Apple for a decade now. Here's a 2006 story about Apple's number two:

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116096027141893457-aw...


Downvoted--please try to disagree more tactfully next time.


"With this price, though, Amazon won't steal Apple's customers.."

I think a lot of people with iPads would have been more than happy to spend half as much to get an easy-to-use tablet.


I hesitate to agree because it seems like the iPad and Fire will provide different experiences.

For what it's worth, I couldn't justify an iPad for $500. I would absolutely consider a Fire for $200 (or a Fire 3G for $250-300).


He or she is saying that some people who were not looking for the advanced features bought the iPad because it was the only tablet available beyond some minimum.


Awareness is also a big factor.

My mom (she's a minister) just got an iPad, when all she needed was a handheld device with which she can scroll the text of a eulogy, when she's at a grave doing a funeral. The lowliest of tablets can handle this task, but "iPad" is all people talk about. If Amazon can generate buzz -- and I think they can -- then it would certainly erode sales such as my mom's.


Yeah, a lot of people think they know this market and what people "would" buy, and all of them except the guys selling iPads have been wrong so far. Batting average of everyone else: .000.

"Easy-to-use", which is far from a given on a non-iOS device, doesn't mean anything if there is not an attractive application base.


I actually think this is untrue.

For those who use it extensively, they probably feel $500ish is worth what they paid.

For those who don't, sure they might wish they had spent less, but are these folks going to be satisfied with less functionality/apps/screensize/etc?

The iPad is popular with kids and elderly alike mostly due to it's larger screen size.


A lot of price comparisons are based simply on initial purchase price. If you take into account pre- and post-sale service and support, build quality, longterm reliability, resale value over time, to name a few, it's harder to simply compare purchase prices. I think there will also be some people who will end up with Kindle Fires who probably - secretly - wanted iPads. Santa will be able to save a few dollars this year...


The majority of people (that I know) with iPads are using them for consuming content or playing games - something they could easily do for $300 less with a Amazon Fire.

No 3G, not much storage space, lower resolution (as soon as Apple releases iPad's with retina display) and lack of an Apple logo make the Fire inferior, but with a much lower price it could make things interesting.


I don't think Apple has ever promoted its products as "luxurious". Jobs introduced the iPad as "a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".

I think that Bezos quote is actually very Apple-like, what with "people are going to love these" and so on.


From the clip I saw, Bezos looked awkward and nervous. He looked like the wind was already out of his sails, which doesn't help to create that rock concert environment if that's what he wanted. He paused a lot to wait for applause and got crickets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whOlvV3HYFM


> Bezos looked awkward and nervous

Sounds about like every time I've heard him speak. He probably let out some really loud laughs too.

Remember his welcome video to Zappos employees? It was a paper based presentation (giant sheets!) where among other things he explained mistakes he and Amazon made and then shared "everything I know". He's awkward at moments, but authentic throughout. I like his style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hxX_Q5CnaA


He paused a lot to wait for applause and got crickets.

It's a press conference, not a public event. You measure interest by camera shutter clicks, rather than applause :-)

He's already achieved his business objective, which is lots and lots of frothy press coverage and market position as a value provider. The longer the poor economic climate lasts, the more this pays off. I can see why you're skeptical, but I felt the same way when I first saw the kindle, and boy-was-I-wrong-about-that.


Ha good point about shutter clicks.

I wasn't trying to make an assessment of the product though - I was just trying to make about his presentation style. I think he was hoping for a rockstar presentation where everyone would get energetic and excited from the way he presented alone (regardless of the product).

I think the new kindles are cool :)


He's doing what the RIM CEO did when presenting the playbook!

He's clutching a tablet-shaped-MacGuffin which may as well be a bottle of water for all his body language says about it.


That clip is disturbing. I understand that not everyone can replicate Jobs' reality distortion field. But, why is Bezos not excited about his own product? There should be a natural enthusiasm that is missing onstage there. And, it's not that Bezos can't do it when he tries! I've seen interviews where he was clearly invigorated about little stuff like shipping infrastructure and AWS details. So this should have been a no-brainer.

Maybe he's gotten a sneak preview of what Apple has in store for October and it's now too late to change course.


Apparently this one is a stop-gap device that they had made to get into this holiday season. The tablet they really want to have is still some months away and will miss this year.


maybe luxurious is the wrong way to put it, but the iPad has always been marketed as a luxury-segment product. it is promoted as being something special, not just another everyday CE device.

the iPad is like a backyard swimming pool - you don't need one, but it's fun and all your friends will be impressed. the kindle is like a washing machine - you don't need one, but if you don't have one you're going to be going to the laundramat/reading paper books like a barbarian.


No, I think the iPad is like a veranda, and the Kindle is like a block of cheese. No, wait, the iPad is like a BMW, and the Kindle is 40,000 frequent flyer points. No, that not right, the iPad is like a Ming vase, while the Kindle is like a big screen tv. yeah, that the way.

You analogy is only slightly less awful than mine.


I bet everybody who was a stakeholder in the release of this project had a long talk about messaging this a'la Steve Jobs.


"This populist attitude has been missing from the tablet market since the iPad's release."

Disagree completely. Everyone expected the iPad to cost $999, but they came in at a superlow price point that no one else could compete with and have sold tens of millions.

To paraphrase Bezos and Andy Warhol at the same time the iPad is the Coke of tablets, we're still waiting for a Pepsi and every working class guy on the street knows he can get the same iPad as the President and no amount of money can get you a better tablet then the iPad that guy on the bus has. That's populism in the tablet market (or as they say, ipad market) to me.


"Amazon won't steal Apple's customers"

- Absolutely correct. But all the other android tablet makers pricing their tablet anything over $300 will all get screwed by this for sure. [I cannot see what else they can do to justify double the price of the Fire without some brilliant ideas and innovations.]. They all refuse to do anything to the software. They also cannot match Apple's (and probably soon Amazon's) scale and huge volumes to get a good price on bulk-hardware. Nor do they have the "content" and "user base with credit cards" to match that of Apple and Amazon.

Good news is that we can expect more HP-touchpad like fire sales. Bad news is very few are going to want those even at those prices.

Amazon brilliantly played to their strengths. Kudos to Jeff Bezos and team!


"Developers need to think about this as another golden ticket. Here's the iOS gold rush, part deux."

My thoughts exactly.


> The Fire will be the first successful Android tablet

I think credit for this should actually go to the Nook Color. Anecdotally, I actually know more Nook owners than iPad owners.


"This populist attitude has been missing from the tablet market since the iPad's release." I do not agree with this at all. Before the iPad the tablet market was ~$1500 laptops. Now amazon has come out with a tablet that they did not have to design the hardware or software. Great, but do not knock the iPad for price, as it cost something to create a design people want to buy.


Looks like Bloomberg got early access and published before the actual press conference by accident.

The most relevant details:

The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said. The device, a souped-up version of the Kindle electronic-book reader, will run on Google Inc.’s Android software, the Seattle-based company said.

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.


It wasn't an accident. It was a straight news "scoop". The news headline came across the wire at 9:31am:

  *AMAZON TO UNVEIL KINDLE FIRE TODAY, SELL TABLET AT $199  BN  9:31
Just to be sure, I checked with the news team. :)


Apparently there will be a $79 regular Kindle as well: http://thisismynext.com/2011/09/28/amazon-launches-79-kindle...


Kindle Touch looks really similar to the Nook Touch, which is a truly excellent product. But Nook Touch still has a killer feature for a ebook nerd like me: it reads epubs. I'm assuming the KT will still be locked in to Amazon's ridiculous .mobi format, so I'm sticking with my NT for now.


> ridiculous .mobi format

What's ridiculous about it, apart from the competing DRM schemes and Amazon vs. all others aspect? Both formats are essentially zipped XHTML ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats#Mo... ), and are offered by many free ebook sites (feedbooks.com, manybooks.net, gutenberg.org etc.)

The BN Nooks were not available outside the U.S. (and Canada?) last time I looked.


The Kindle Touch's killer feature would be better PDF support. The Nook Touch looks totally unusable for PDFs.


The Nook STP runs Android, and it's pretty trivial to get Android-native PDF readers up-and-running on it. None are yet optimized for the e-ink screen, of course, but some have an option to turn off animation which helps somewhat.

Something like mupdf (which has already been ported) combined with some button/touch bindings and perhaps a touch-friendly zoom feature seems to me like it would do the job perfectly... and be an easy weekend hack for much of this site's target audience?*

I think you'd have to look long and hard for an e-ink reader with truly decent out-of-box PDF support and no serious failings in other areas — my search so far has been unfruitful, but please do tell if you've come across anything which fits the bill.

*edit: If someone actually does/has done this/something similar, please post about it here!


Yes, I did see videos of rooted nook, and you could use android apps to view PDFs, but the problem with that is, of course, rooting the device.

I think Kindle 3 is better for PDFs than the Nook Touch, because you can zoom in. It is clunky, but at least you can do it. On the Nook you can only change font sizes, and that reflows the PDF and messes everything up.

The solution, as I see it, since they have a touch screen is to implement something similar to ezPDF, which is my favourite PDF reader for Android. Just a double tap on a section, and it'll zoom exactly on the section of text you want to read. You don't have to fiddle with fixed zoom settings and clunky movement to try and fit the viewport to include the portion you want to see.

Of course, they probably aren't interested in doing this at all, since they'd be very happy if you only read books bought at their store.

PS. The Kindle DX is probably the best for PDFs, but its price and size are big downpoints.


Actually the ectaco jetbook, a cheap ebook reader I got over a year ago as superb PDF support. It automatically zooms in past margins, loads all graphics and text, turns pages quickly, even on monster sized textbook PDF files. This cheap piece of hardware handles PDFs better than my (albeit cheap) android tablet. If only they had a version with a decent screen size, it would be the killer device for textbook reading.


Thanks for the tip, but the jetBook seems to use a TFT screen: "jetBook uses a huge, state-of-the-art 5-inch VGA reflective monochrome TFT screen" (http://www.jetbook.net/specifications). No word about resolution but I'm skeptical that it could compare in any way to e-ink, especially the new Pearl panels.


Oh definitely not. But its not bad in its own right. It's not backlit, it uses ambient light to display the picture. So battery life is quite good. Personally I found it easy on the eyes, but then again I don't particularly have trouble with backlight LCD's for extended periods of time either.

The resolution of my 5'' is 640x480. The size definitely kills it for anything other than standard novels. If they came out with an 8inch version I would be all over it.


It seems to me that PDF is not a format suitable for much more than printing on paper.

A very important feature of Kindle is to allow choosing font size. It make it an ideal tool for elders. But PDF documents have a fixed layout that won't allow resizing font conveniently, or you have to break it in pieces.


You are right. But, I have an extensive library of PDF files that I'd like to read. I expect many people do too. Most are technical documents with equations, graphs and other images. I would love to have an e-ink based reader that will render such documents correctly.

But, Amazon are probably more interested in selling their content, so I understand the lack of PDF support.


I have an older Kindle DX which can do technical PDFs. Aside from the cost (nowadays triple the smaller Kindle), it's still not entirely satisfactory for three reasons:

- It's cumbersome to do anything other than reading sequentially.

- The screen is still not big enough for letter/A4 pages - it does perform decent scaling, but you know how scrunched many technical papers are. Can go landscape and read half a page, which is a pain in two column layouts ...

- It's a tad heavy, almost like a hardcover textbook that needs to be held in both hands.


I understand PDFs aren't a great format for books, but there are some cases in which it'd be fantastic to have them on an e-reader.

For graphical content, such as technical drawings/illustrations, wireframes or just B&W document proofs, the resolution and fidelity of an E-Ink Pearl screen combined with the true WYSIWYG nature of the PDF format across digital/print would be a dream come true for me...


Great price point. It's basically in impulse zone: "This book is 6 dollars cheaper at Kindle price... if I buy 12 it pays for itself..." but note there's no physical keyboard. Without a touch screen, it looks like it won't do note-taking, which is a bummer.


I'd be interested to see what % of Kindle users make use of the Keyboard. I'm pretty sure that I've only ever touched it for inputting URIs when web-browsing from abroad.


In the two years that I've owned my Kindle, I don't think that I've ever used the keyboard (at least not intentionally).


Same. But I know others (like my brother, a student) who use it a ton.

They can keep selling the Kindle3 with keyboard for those who want it.


I find the keyboard invaluable for the search functionality on a given text. Simple examples: searching the Economist for all references to the ECB (i.e. looking for euro crisis related news); searching A Game of Thrones for Kinslayer to figure out which character was introduced with that nickname.


I don't take notes and tweet them, but I do search for books in the online store via whispernet. I have no idea how that's going to work on this device, probably something like registering your name on Zelda, which will be a pain and probably not worth the real estate.


I've always thought it was retarded to include a hardware keyboard on a device that will be used ~95% of the time for reading stuff. It's a really smart move to remove it.


Reading can be passive or active. As an active reader I highlight and annotate my books, so the keyboard is invaluable for me.


Some sort of stylus would be a more natural fit for that. A keyboard would just slow you down (selecting text, marking it, annotating)


Agreed. This might be ex post rationalization, but the keyboard helps me form thoughts. I've got no problem with it (but we definitely agree on the stylus).


I'm a fairly heavy user of the keyboard to highlight and annotate lines/paragraphs/sections of books. Some of the keys have completely faded :(


I use the keyboard quite a lot, for writing notes. It's amazing how reading a non-fiction book is so much more rewarding if you make highlights and notes. If you're thorough, you can read just your highlights and notes and effectively re-read the same book a year down the line in about 10% of the time; and still refresh your memory well.


I use it for shopping for my next book when I'm too lazy to get out of bed and go to the computer.


Not to mention some textbooks which are $50 less in Kindle format. That brings the total cost of the Kindle hardware to $29 for a college student with one required book.

If more than one textbook is available for Kindle, it could actually be a net bonus.


The textbooks may be cheaper but if you're like most students and only use a textbook for one class its more expensive than buying the book used and selling it when you're done with it.


I think the kindle itself will still have fairly good resale value, although that won't make up the cost of the book.


Looks like they will still be selling the previous version as "Kindle Keyboard" for the same price as it is now.


I'd presume that this is just to drain any stock of the K3 they have left.


But there's also a $99 touchscreen e-ink reader, so there you go. :) http://thisismynext.com/2011/09/28/amazon-touchscreen-kindle...


I'm not too hot on the touchscreen. I don't need it. I like the physical page turning buttons on my wife's Kindle 3... they have a satisfying weight to them and they sit nicely where your fingers already are. I don't want to tap tap tap my e-ink screen all day.


I love the Kindle3, but the side paddles are a pain.

I often end up holding the device in weird ways and accidentally push the paddle inadvertently.

Also random keys on the keyboard cause context switches too.

I'm going to be happy with a $79 or $99 kindle, as I only read on it, and never take notes or search.


That's the news I've been waiting for. I mean, other than the new tablet, I was interested in their plans for the e-ink reader, so that I can decide whether to wait for a new version, or buy the Kindle 3. Kindle 3 and Kindle Fire are two very different devices and it's best for them to announce their plans regarding both.


Wow. That looks a lot like an old Palm device.


Main Amazon pages don't seem to be updated, but this URL is: http://www.kindle.com

Interesting stuff:

* Will still sell current Kindle as "Kindle Keyboard" for same price.

* New non-touch Kindle is 2 ounces lighter than old Kindle, but has half the battery life.

* The new touch Kindle is 1 ounce lighter than old Kindle, with same battery life.

* Kindle Fire is 6-7 ounces lighter than an iPad 2.

* All the prices that were quoted are "with special offers" and the non-ad ones cost more.


Great, now we can buy the cheaper version, jailbreak it, and remove ads. Brilliant!


no-no, they mean that these are special offer prices. Normal pricing will be more expensive.


Thanks for the link, looks good. The price "with special offers" is U.S. only, but most everybody else can also buy from amazon.com at 109 USD.

Seems that E.U. Europeans get to pay VAT: "Your international shipment is subject to VAT. This is the same VAT rate you pay when you buy products in your country. There are NO customs duties or any other fees."


Also, it seems that the Kindle Touch is not available in Europe!?


Nor is the Kindle Fire.


What popped out at me was the battery life for the fire:

8 hours continuous reading or 7.5 hours video playback

8 hours doesn't seem like very much. Clearly its an LCD panel with back lighting and all that, but 8 hours seems a bit short.


That is a fairly standard number for a tablet. iPad, Touchpad, Galaxy Tab, nook color are all in that neighborhood. Anything better means a bigger battery = more weight and thickness.


iPad is 10 hours of video and even more for Reading.


7.5 hours of continuous video playback is pretty good I think. And for my average reading time per day, it's plenty. You will have to recharge this thing daily but whatever. I already do that with my phone.


Man, how our expectations change in a short time. Nobody quite believed the iPad's 10-hour claim at launch, now apparently it's the accepted baseline in less than years :-)


Thanks for that link and summary. I'm glad there's still an option to buy the non-ad supported models; I was afraid they'd phase them out. Maybe they'll even go crazy and let me use my own screensaver images without jailbreaking!


I'd be happy to PAY for new screensavers or any other way to have custom screensavers without going through the pain of jailbreaking -- i have one of the recent versions which are difficult to root.


FYI, this is not quite right: "Will still sell current Kindle as "Kindle Keyboard" for same price."

They actually dropped it from $114 to $99.


For rest of the world: 1 ounce = 28.3 grams.


I love this form factor and price, but is anyone else concerned about the whole cloud proxy (remote EC2 / S3 cache)? This puts all of your browsing history on their servers so forget privacy. It would even enable them to do things like substitute their own ads in place of the originals etc.

On the one hand the predictive thing seems really cool and the techy in me is excited about the idea. On the other hand I'm really not a fan of a remote cache from a privacy perspective.


I'd imagine you can opt out of that by either installing another browser (like Skyfire) or going to some settings in Silk.

I don't think Amazon will track your browsing without your explicit approval, and I'd imagine it would be much easier to send each request as a stateless request to any of its EC2 instances.


If Amazon want to not make comparisons with the iPad, something I'd strongly suggest, they should stop making statements like this:

> The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said in interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Also, it's disingenuous. Of course a 7" "tablet" is cheaper than Apple's 10" tablet. Film at 11.

That being said, I'm very pleased to see this. I didn't think e-ink readers would be abandoned by Amazon but I didn't see them being a high priority either yet here we are with updated models (and me having just bought a Kindle like 2-3 months ago, grrr).

I'll have to look into it and see if the new ones are faster refresh (really the only thing I care about). If so I'll probably buy (another) one. What the hell. Although I'm not entirely convinced of the touch interface on an e-ink device. I guess we'll see.

Come to think of it, I might just buy one of the $199 tablets too. It's almost impulse territory too.

I do think Amazon could do really well with this. I imagine these will be popular holiday items. And like everyone has said, they are going to promote the hell out of these.

That all being said, I'm not giving up my iPad just yet. :)


> Also, it's disingenuous. Of course a 7" "tablet" is cheaper than Apple's 10" tablet. Film at 11.

It isn't obvious that the screen size is really the sticking point on price for tablets. The iPod touch retails for $229 and is much smaller than 7".

They are just comparing tablet products. If Apple had a 7" iPad and Amazon were comparing their prices to a 10" iPad, then it would be disingenuous. As it is, Apple only has a 10" tablet, so that is really the only comparison that can be made on price.


I disagree. Every time Amazon gets a sentence printed that says the Amazon table is $300 cheaper than the iPad, they win. They want to have them be mentioned in the same comparison, because that encourages the consumer to think "do I really need $300 more of tablet?"


To say this is to ignore the well-established history of retail upselling.

When someone walks into a Best Buy and tells a salesperson "I want to spend $600 on a TV" the standard practice is to show them what they get for $600 and then you show them what more you get if you spend just a bit extra. People often walk out of these stores spending more than intended.

By linking the Fire with the iPad, Amazon is (IMHO) making the same mistake. A consumer will look at the Fire and if the iPad is then on their mind they'll look at it and see what that extra gets them. Not everyone will buy an iPad but some will when they see it plays games, has a richer app experience, has a larger display and so on.

What Apple has mastered is aspirational purchasing. People want to own Apple products. The last thing you should do is remind your potential customers that your product is an inferior (albeit cheaper) version.

Amazon has done one thing right: they haven't created an iPad clone. Don't then lose that advantage by making comparisons.

See what's going to happen is in 6 months there'll quite likely be 9" and/or 10" Fires. They won't be $300 cheaper than the (then) iPad 3. This is where your earlier comparisons come back to haunt you.


> Not everyone will buy an iPad but some will when they see it plays games, has a richer app experience, has a larger display and so on.

The kindle fire can play games and has a rich app experience thanks to android. The only thing the ipad has going for it is the larger display. Time will tell if people care about that.


"The only thing the ipad has going for it is the larger display."

There are a few other key, and important differences other than screen size.

  o IOS 4 (and soon 5) - Lots of pre-existing premium apps.
  o 8 Gigabytes Flash vs 16 Gigabytes.  (I was surprised to see no SD card capability on the Fire.  That sucks.  I have a 64 GB iPad, and the extra flash makes a difference on long trips when you are watching videos)
  o Video/Camera capability on iPad
  o 10 Hours Battery on iPad vs 8 Hours on Fire
  
For a media consumption device that will be used on airplanes, the 20% less battery life (or 25% more on the iPad), and the limited 8 Gigabytes of memory is unfortunate. It's a nice first attempt, but for anyone with the extra money, I think the iPad still offers the better value play - and clearly is the higher quality offering.

See: http://gizmodo.com/5844648/how-does-the-amazon-kindle-fire-t...


> IOS 4 (and soon 5) - Lots of pre-existing premium apps.

Android has tons of premium apps too.

> 8 Gigabytes Flash vs 16 Gigabytes.

The Kindle stores everything in the cloud for free.

> Video/Camera capability on iPad > 10 Hours Battery on iPad vs 8 Hours on Fire

I see everyone saying here that people don't care about features, they only care about the content, this is why previous Android tablets failed despite having more features than the iPad. Again, I think only time will tell.

> It's a nice first attempt, but for anyone with the extra money, I think the iPad still offers the better value play

But it's $300 more expensive, that's a huge difference for the regular customer. And as I explained, the difference in features isn't that perceivable for non-techies except for the size.


> Android has tons of premium apps too

Kindle Fire is built off the Android 2.1 phone OS and lacks the speed improvements of 2.2 and 2.3, as well as the tablet interface elements added in 3.X. I would hesitate to call the compatible Apps in the Amazon Appstore "premium" for those reasons. Games will work comparably, but for anything else people there is distinct difference.


This is precisely what you want the consumer thinking, and it's amazing that a simple fact like that eluded the likes of Samsung, etc.


? How does this relate to Samsung? Their related phone and tablet devices are priced nearly identically to Apple's offerings with nearly identical specs.


In the minds of most people, Apple is sexy. They make stylish products that are easy to use. They have sexy stores and enjoyable ads on TV. The high price makes them status symbols. They are massively entrenched and can take advantage of network effects ("all my friends are ipad owners and they love it").

In the face of that, the only rational area to compete in is offering a functionally similar product at a much lower price. But instead of attacking from below and, as the OP said, making consumers question the price tag, Samsung chose to attack from above by matching specs and price point. Riskier move that has now spectacularly failed.


How would Samsung fight on price here? Amazon is using the Fire as a loss leader. They very likely lose money on every sale. But they make it up on extra Amazon conversions. What would Samsung make up their losses on?


sdks and a cut from app sales via a samsung app store. ???


>Riskier move that has now spectacularly failed.

Samsung's sales figures beg to differ. In an extreme, extreme way.


Yes, it's selling, but...

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/01/31/samsung-galaxy-tab-sa...

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392422,00.asp

And that's not even considering the patent mess that has killed the product in Europe.


The articles are about Samsung's first, 7", Froyo based tab. The 10.1 and 8.9 Honeycomb tabs are selling so well, that they are nowhere in stock (you are given about week delivery time on order). And yes, that's in Europe, German judges have jurisdiction only in Germany, nowhere else.


I think it's a little bit misleading. You can interpret those statements as an attempt to steal iPad's customers or you can interpret those statements as an attempt to attract a new market of consumers that would never buy an iPad because of the price. I like to think it's the latter more than the former.


> and me having just bought a Kindle like 2-3 months ago, grrr

I wouldn't be annoyed, the Kindle you have has a battery that lasts twice as long as the new Kindle, and it has a proper keyboard. The only plus for the new Kindle is it's a bit lighter.


> and it has a proper keyboard

This is my favorite feature of the kindle.

Before I used to read technical books in bed and I wasn't sure how much I was actually getting out of them. With the kindle I can make notes as I go and then review the notes later.

I find I'm retaining a whole lot more with the note taking ability of the kindle than I do by just reading a book in bed.

I've tried to use the iPad keyboard on the kindle app but it's just much slower.

I wouldn't give up the physical keyboard for anything.


Sleeker, too. As someone with a 2nd gen Kindle, let me tell you the smaller, slimmer 3rd gen Kindles have haunted me for some time. When they are already this small, shaving off an inch is a big difference.


Agreed. The 'normal' Kindle is a fantastic little device, the battery life being one of the many reasons why I don't feel the new Fire supercedes it in any way.


And Amazon knows that. They will still be selling the 'old' Kindle at the current price.


> I'd strongly suggest, they should stop making statements like this:

I think that statement is more about positioning the Kindle Fire into a different market segment than trying to frame it as a competitor to the iPad. Bezos needs people to see this as something different, something you might potentially own as well as an iPad. For that to happen he needs to be able to say that it's not just cheaper, but radically cheaper. Personally I think it needs to get down to $149, but we'll see.


>> The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said in interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek.

I'm not sure that Amazon told Bloomberg "The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad". I understood that as "Amazon told us it was $200, now we're going to make a reference to the iPad, because we just can't not."


People in Europe are getting screwed again.

- Small Kindle: $79

- Power Adapter: $10

- Cost in USA: $89 (free shipping)

Okay, so I see a banner that they ship to Europe. Excellent, I click it. Then I get a new banner, saying that my country qualifies for free shipping (pending some conditions). I go through the checkout process and I'm faced with the following list:

- Kindle + Adapter: $119

- Shipping: $27 (what happened to the free shipping banner you advertised with on the Kindle page AFTER I selected my country!?)

- Tax: 0

- Import duties: $28

--------------

- Grand total: $174

That's twice the amount you have to pay in the US. Really, Amazon? Can't you just tell me it's going to cost that much BEFORE I go through the entire checkout process?


No, not just Europeans. Canadians will have to pay the same price for the device and power adapter, plus $14 import duties. I thought NAFTA should eliminate the difference, but it turned out not to be the case.

Other good things for geeks like Google Voice, iPhone, etc only available, or available first during initial launch, makes me want to relocate to the US.

Sigh.

That being said, Amazon.com's product page is really a nightmare for non-US customers. You'll NEVER find a link to the product page for your country. They only show it AFTER you click checkout and proceed when warn you that it won't deliver to your address.

Bizarre.


The price increase is because Amazon don't have an ad-supported network for non-US territories; so the $79 Kindle becomes the $109 Kindle.

The UK store is selling this Kindle for £89.

Are you really that surprised that Amazon add $50 for shipping and import duties on this product? I don't think this particular case is an example of Amazon screwing the international market.

Not releasing the Fire or Touch on the international markets whatsoever is them screwing us ^.^


I'm annoyed because Amazon added a big banner on the US website that the kindle was available in my country but neglected to mention what the price was going to be. In order to find out I had to go through the checkout process and type in my CC number (even though my CC is already on file) just to get to the point where they tell me what it's going to cost.

I expect the number on the site to roughly correspond to the amount I actually have to pay. I don't expect there to be nearly a $100 difference. That's a hostile sales tactic and I don't appreciate it.

After I select my country (on the kindle page itself) the price should immediately change to $109 (+$28 shipping + $28 duties). Then I wouldn't be complaining.


How is Amazon responsible for the fact that your government chooses to impose import duties? For that matter, why didn't somebody in Europe start Amazon? Could it have anything to do with the high cost of doing business there? I think your complaints are misdirected.


I agree that it isn't Amazon's fault for governments imposing duties, but I think the parent was referring more to the fact that Amazon wasn't upfront about the total cost before he had to go through the entire checkout process. I think what he was suggesting was Amazon determine what country you are in, and show the prices for your country.

I think that's a reasonable request to make of Amazon.


After reading his description of events I see nothing for him to be complaining about towards Amazon. He did say his country qualified for free shipping with some conditions. Maybe he triggered one of those conditions?

Most of the time complaints like these are misdirected because the cost discrepancy is usually due to government restrictions and taxes. You don't think Amazon would want to sell and ship products worldwide at roughly the same prices?


- Small Kindle: $109 = £69.71 (without the US-only "special offers")

- 20% VAT: £13.94

--------------

- Grand total: £83.65

- UK Amazon price: £89

Seems reasonable.

I suppose 6.5% headroom is more than strictly necessary for exchange rate fluctuation. But I suppose you might as well round up to give the price a "9" on the end.


If you think you are being screwed, take a look at how it is for Brazil.

Items (2): $118.99

Shipping & Handling: $28.97

Total Before Tax: $147.96

Estimated Tax To Be Collected: $0.00

Import Fees Deposit $140.74

---------

Order Total: $288.70

Obviously not Amazon's fault. We have absurd taxes here.


If you think you are being screwed, take a look at how it is for China. ----------- Yes, it's not available for China, and never has been Obviously not Amazon's fault. We have absurd party here.


So we are both screwed, because I obviously wont buy it for $288.70. Atleast I think that our fellow european friends feel a little less screwed now.


I came here to comment the same thing

The cheapest Kindle is $255.57 with shipping and taxes. Now remember that the Brazilian Real is worth half a dollar, but has approximately the same buying power. In the end the cheapest Kindle costs 472 bucks here.

The monthly minimum wage is 545.


Yikes! That is almost 100% taxes.


If you buy only the Kindle, it's actually over 100%.


Americans do not pay $89, they pay $89 + tax. Any time you see a price for Americans, remember that they do not include tax in their final prices. The equivalent here for you is the import duties.

Your comparison is still apt, but the apples-to-apples comparator is $89 to $119 (I'd exclude shipping too - international shipping is harder to get nicer deals on than domestic shipping)


For electronics you'll always be dinged on shipping and duty. For dead tree books, there is nothing better than Amazon US. The EC versions seems to be 2x the price and months late if you need a translation.


Finally, someone other than Apple gets that it isn't about what it is (i.e., specs), it's about what it does (i.e., content).


They're sure getting their jabs at Apple in everywhere they can:

"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."

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


The requirements line has been there since the K1. Not an explicit jab at Apple as much as "this isn't complex technology, relax".


I find the Kindle Fire kind of an odd duck. I realize e-ink is not the most responsive screen, but having a fully android based tablet that used e-ink would have been fantastic. I would have gladly bought it. But a Kindle that lacks e-ink feels strange to me. I guess they are riding on Kindle's success, but this really isn't a Kindle.

I own both a Kindle and an iPad and I flat out can not read books on the iPad. After about 30 minutes my eyes are strained and a headache is emerging. To me e-ink is not optional, but the killer feature.


Most people here and in the press (Amazon's PR unit included) consider this a company v company debate - "Apple vs Amazon" debate. Barnes & Noble seems to be such an afterthought that the Nook Color gets little attention though it is the directly competing product in terms of product specs and price (though the NC price will have to come down from $249 to $199 or below to compete).

The NC curently has what I think is a large advantage in that its easy to root via the microSD slot so it becomes a fully functioning Android tablet, including Android Market. The KF can provide Amazon media - for users, does this outweigh access to the Android market and native access to Google products? The NC still got nowhere near the appreciation from the public in its history that the Kindle Fire got in one day.

I'm curious as to what strategy Barnes & Noble takes with regards to NC in resposne to KF. A reliable source tells me that the NC is 85% owned by women and the targeted primary audience for its apps are 30+ women. There are few free apps because BN doesn't want to create an expectation of "everything should be free" (i.e. get users used to paying for value). The targeted audience also is one less opposed to paying for something nor have time to find free hacks (unlike young males). I don't think this market will be sufficient to keep the Kindle Fire from dominating at the $200 price point. Everyone, including not-yet-purchased-a-tablet 30+ women, will soon likely hear of the Kindle Fire and BN will lose much of its small core audience.

Given the $200 price point, I think that there may be an oppotunity for BN to make a large mainstream splash if it allows greater flexibility in the NC (including fully integrating Android Market). Otherwise, I don't see how it competes with Amazon because of "coolness" perceptions of the two companies. In that respect, Amazon competes with Apple; while BN competes with Borders (RIP).


> Given the $200 price point, I think that there may be an oppotunity for BN to make a large mainstream splash if it allows greater flexibility in the NC (including fully integrating Android Market).

Good point. It might not have been possible before, but it might just be that Google will feel threatened enough by the Fire to want to help out a competitor and let them officially use the Google apps. It would certainly make it a no brainer for me. Of course, it might be a dumb decision for BN (Android Market => install Kindle App => no need to buy books from BN any more)


I love how Bloomberg released an article describing the press conference in the past tense half an hour before it started; Amazon hasn't caught up with Apple's secrecy yet.

Amazon is doing the right thing, which wouldn't be that surprising except that every other Android vendor has done the wrong thing. Amazon is presenting a unified, controlled environment to users (which most of them want), provides both content and app delivery services, and is selling tablets cheap enough to as not to compete directly with Apple. It will do well.


This is a common media strategy. It is a win-win situation:

a) Amazon rep. unofficially approves a "leaky" article just before the press conference. b) Bloomberg journalist guarantees a front page story on their web page. c) Amazon reaps the benefits of more coverage

You are forgetting that Amazon Press Conferences, without these advance buzz giving messages would not be even 10% of what Apple conferences are. Now they get at least a half of that.

Everybody in America is waking up. Everybody in Europe is bored at work. Everybody in Asia is enjoying their evening.

Ideal.


It's a shame to see that text-to-speech is absent from the light $79 model (it's present in the touch). At 6 ounces, that would be exactly the model I'd want to have TTS, which has been a killer feature for me. I actually prefer the robotic voice to most audiobook narrators for a lot of material - the affectless delivery must be how my internal voice reads a lot of books. Here's hoping Amazon puts TTS functionality into their Android/iPhone apps sooner than later - I'd gladly pay a $20 in-app purchase...


A large USP of the Kindle is it's E-Ink display (leaving aside other ereaders from sony etc. for now). I have often recommended people to 'get a kindle' when asked about reading books electronically; this will no longer be the case. I think this new addition dilutes the Kindle brandname.


I don't understand this rationale at all. How does the Kindle Fire devalue the Kindle brand name? The Fire is a different product from the e-ink Kindles. You can still say "get a Kindle touch for $99" or "get a Kindle with hard keys for $79."


Audio is the core feature of the original iPod. Reading is the core feature of the Kindle. Reading from an lcd screen is a significantly worse experience than from e-ink. My point is that Amazon releasing the Kindle Fire is akin to if Apple released the iPod Touch (which had new features such as web browsing, youtube etc.) with degraded 8-bit audio.


The iPod Touch is no where near as good an iPod as the classic, since it lacks the physical UI (the key differentiator for the iPod, not sound quality which has been variable) but makes up for it by adding extra features. So Apple pretty much did exactly what you suggest.


I suppose you are right. Kindle brand could be stronger if tight to e-ink eye confort and even black and white, which make the thing austere and monacal, and not toyish like iPad.

I don't know, is touchable e-ink coming in near future? Then they could have waited for that, and improve a lot Kindle OS (allow for plugins, real browsing, epub, viable pdf, email, etc) meanwhile.


Touchable e-ink has existed for a while. See for example Kobo Touch.


Yeah touch has been around I have a sony reader that's at least 4-5 years old now that has a touchable e-ink display. The reasons they went with a lcd is color and response(refresh?) time on e-ink display. You can't watch a movie or play games or browse the web on e-ink kindles.


The iPod Touch is a considerably worse iPod than its predecessors. This doesn't seem to have hurt its sales much, nor the iPod brand.


Define worse. When I got an iPhone, my iPod went into complete disuse, and I ended up giving it to a friend. The iPhone/iPod touch interface is, to me, far and away better than the original iPod interface. This was then bolstered with the new earbuds that added volume control to the pre-existing track control on the mic/clicker.

It certainly has less drive space than older iPods, but I have yet to fill up my iPhone. I understand using the old iPod as a portable hard drive, but storing your entire music collection on it never made sense to me - which is why I gladly traded the smaller drive space for the better interface.


Obviously it depends on personal taste and use, but I think the Touch has a couple of serious deficiencies compared with the others. First, I believe that battery life isn't as good, although I could be wrong on that one. Second, it's impossible to play, pause, or switch tracks without actually looking at the thing unless you're using a compatible headset. Plus the storage space you mention.

I think the Touch and iPhone are more than adequate for the task, but they're not quite as good as the pure iPods, and that functionality is completely eclipsed by their other capabilities. I haven't used an iPod since getting an iPhone either, but that's just because it suffices, not because it's equally good.


The iPod Touch is a killer 'gameboy' (as Nintendo is finding out ;-)


Indeed. As long as there is a niche for the product, it can usually get away with not being in the same niche as other products in the same brand.


Audio is the core feature of the original iPod.

Audio quality was not. iPods never supported Ogg Vorbis or FLAC, for example.

Ultimately, some ppl like reading white-on-black text on LCDs at night instead of e-ink. LCDs aren't better or worse, they're just different. Matter of preference.


??? Vorbis is a lossy audio compression algorithm, much like AAC or MP3. I would be very surprised if in a A/B test anybody could tell the difference between comparable bitrate lossy codecs.

FLAC was a licensing problem -- when Apple wanted to add lossless, they did so, with a clean-room lossless compressed audio codec.


It doesn't devalue it, it dilutes it.


Semantics...would you argue the iPod nano diluted the iPod brand?


They show a lot the device in kid's hands : because 7" is too small for grown up?

I have played with a RIM Playbook once and the size factor was the same concern. Seems like under 9-10" it can't be a replacement for my laptop in any situation and it feels more like a toy.

(Disclaimer : I own an iPad)


Actually, I am surprisingly enamoured by the photos of the 7" in an adult's hands. It is pleasingly small-but-not-tiny.

There's also all kinds of reasons to promote the Fire in hands of children. Unlike regular geeky gadgets, Amazon is targeting women just as much as men, and you can market to mothers via their children. Plus, if you can get your products into the hands of children, you are establishing an entire generation of future customers. That's why Microsoft et al cut students and Universities such massive discounts on software and hardware.

Full-color children's books is also a distinguishing selling point for upgrading over the black-and-white Kindle.


I'm guessing they show it in smaller hands so that the device appears larger.


Your tablet can never be a replacement for your laptop. Period.


Hmm I'm not so sure... My iPad can replace my laptop for basically everything but work. Web browsing, listening/browsing/buying music, twitter et al, emails, games, books, movies/tv shows, etc, etc.


"My iPad can replace my laptop for basically everything but work" - so I guess my point stands. I was trying to argue against OP's point that all these things "Web browsing, listening/browsing/buying music, twitter et al, emails, games, books, movies/tv shows, etc, etc" can be done on a Playbook too.


Ok, fair enough.

I thought what you were trying to argue was "Your tablet can never be a replacement for your laptop. Period."


That really depends on what you're using your laptop for. For some people it can.


I'm guessing this means no free Kindle this November like Kevin Kelly was predicting. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2011/02/free_kindle_t...


I bet if you add this new price point to the graph, you can plot a new curve that makes it not go to zero.


I called this graph ridiculously dumb and got downvoted for it.

The idea was ridiculous, but the thought experiment was fun. Still, hardware costs are not trivial. There's no way Amazon gives something away for free (with 10 ebook purchases) just yet.


That graph looks suspiciously like a countdown until the Fire would be released.


And again, all of this is US only. I don't understand this, they are able to ship a standard Kindle to Europe, why not a Kindle Touch?


How does the split-browser architecture of Silk handles HTTPS?

Everything the EC2 backend does, like recompressing images, pre-rendering pages, resolving DNS records, etc, would require man-in-the-middle interception and decryption of TLS/SSL connections. Not good. I hope they leave HTTPS connections untouched.

That said, for plain HTTP traffic, if they can manage to significantly reduce page loading times, well done. I would prefer to see the fundamental problem resolved of course (lower latency on wireless networks), instead of relying on a complex back-end which will no doubt have issues of its own (availability, bugs, etc).


I am kinda waiting for the DX to drop in price. I really want that bigger e-ink screen, but it's not worth $379 to me.


I'm pretty disappointed that they didn't update the DX. I was hoping for a DX with touch and decent PDF support, and would have payed $400+ for it. As it stands, it looks like they have orphaned it instead.


See if my comment elsewhere here is of use to you http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3048411

I find the smaller E-ink screens a great fit for comfortable reading of fiction, or non-fiction prose like biography or history, where one doesn't need to skip around much, and the font size adjustment may come in handy.


Nope! I do sequential reading on my Kindle books. My use case for the Kindle is "Books I want to read, but not good enough for hardcover, and not referency enough to be put on the PC for searching"


Do you have an opinion about what size Kindle (e-ink) is best for Web browsing? You'd think the DX would be better, but what about the weight?


I wouldn't recommend trying web browsing on E-ink, unless it's through some Readability filter or similar. The screen updates are too slow for it, and the DX browser didn't render perfectly. I suspect the CPUs don't have the oomph for the modern web.

Note that my experience is on a 2010 vintage DX with no WiFi - it is limited to 3G on Amazon's dime. In Europe that's only Wikipedia and the Amazon store.


Thanks. Reading from LCD screens gives me eye strain, so I was thinking of reading blogs, news and software docs on the Kindle. Do you think that might work?


My local Staples sells Kindles. I would suggest digging a physical one up and flipping through it for a while.


I'd advise searching a bit for people describing their use - I suspect most 'send' material for later reading to the Kindle (through readability.com or some equivalent process).


One thing I'm surprised about here is how much Amazon is bothering to mention the tech behind everything in all the promo copy I've seen so far. This is something Apple never does and I think its a misstep for Amazon here. Claiming that silk uses the "raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2" on the homepage of Amazon.com is a completely useless detail for 99% of people who will buy this device. Why not use the audience attention better and focus on what matters with this. Full color touch. Amazon content. Apps. Half the price of an iPad.


It's important to feature it but you need to feature it in a way that people will instantly connect with the essence of the performance gain ala Firewire/Thunderbolt/Retina -- I'm pretty sure if this was an Apple launch they would be calling this RocketWeb or somesuch and there would be a bar chart showing the same pages in RocketWeb downloading 3 times faster (maybe they had this, I haven't watched the keynote yet).


Just tried to order the new non-touch Kindle (which ships today): Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display cannot be shipped to the selected address. A non-US address was selected for this US-only Kindle.

BEZOS!!!


Did you select the one with special offers? I believe that one's US only. Perhaps the other one will work?


I'm not surprised that they decided not to launch the Fire tablet outside the US. At $199 they have to be selling near cost in the US, hoping to make their profit on media sales. Amazon's media stores are minimal at best outside the US. They still don't sell music or video in Canada, for example. Amazon is going to have a hard time playing at the same level as Apple until they step up their legal game and treat the rest of the world as more than an afterthought.


What I want to see is how the app market will pan out. I can only assume (and didn't previously consider) that this will not carry Google branding at all - that means the Android Market, Gmail, Maps, etc, apps will all be missing.

The Android Market would be the big loss here. Amazon seems to take more control over the selling of your product than you do once you submit to their Appstore, but if you want to show up on their tablets, you won't have a choice.


Interesting detail: an official-looking "Java TM Powered" swirly cup logo on the bottom right of the Quick Start guide for the new Kindle: http://kindle.s3.amazonaws.com/KindleQuickStartGuide.pdf

(also in that PDF, a figure that shows the bottom side with micro USB socket and power switch, which was what I was looking for)


The K3 and (IIRC) K2 had the Java logo as well. Java's used for the KDK, don't know how deep in the stack Java goes, though.


I own a tablet (Motorola XOOM) and have used an iPad on a couple of occasions. Those tablets are pitched as substitutes for the PC, suggesting that you might produce content using them. (Apples early release of an office suite for iPad is further evidence of this focus.)

However, so far, I've really only found tablets useful for content consumption. The Kindle Fire makes the bold (and I think right) choice to optimize for consumption. I suspect its smaller form factor will appeal to how more people will actually use these things. Similarly, I don't think people really want high-quality cameras or video on their tablets.

The Kindle Fire is exactly the right product for Amazon to release (given their strengths), and I suspect it might be match the needs of a larger group of people than the iPad.

However, content production in tablets will surely improve over time and I don't think iPad/Windows 8/Android are misguided. I'm just betting that Amazon latched on to a real hole in the market that can be profitable right now.


so, sounds like Apple's skimming the top end of the tablets, and Amazon's skimming the bottom end.


In terms of quality of experience, I think Amazon's product is going to be perceived as runner up to the iPad, while other Android devices will be perceived as the lower end.

Other Android manufacturers are probably going to start competing with Amazon's offer as well, lowering prices and cutting corners in the process.


I'm really interested to see how this plays out. From casual observation, I see a lot of people wanting a non-ipad tablet as their requirement, and the amazon one will fit the bill perfectly (cheaper, non-ipad, relatively hackable, is going to have a lasting presence as a product line - unlike touchpad/playbook).


The fact that you now have a sub-$80 e-reader seems to be getting overlooked in today's news... in some ways I think that's really the innovative part here, and what will drive a lot of high margin ebook sales for Amazon in the next few years.


The interesting thing is that this will be probably the first successful Android tablet but Google will have absolutely zero benefits from its success. Actually, it might even hurt Google position in mobile/tablet market.

Two random examples:

The word Android was barely mentioned on Amazon site.

On device itself, the web and content to be consumed is showed Amazon.com but not thru Google search.

EDIT: Why is this comment downvoted? I'm kinda new on this hacker news and I'm under impression if I express opinion with a couple of examples supporting it that is not trolling... What kind of comment should be made to point out that it seems like Google will have zero benefits and even hurt it from this Android tablet?


I am not sure but your first sentence sounds a little bit trollish. I think the Galaxy Tab 8/10 the Xoom or the Eee Pad Transformer are quite successful and established in the market.

Yes Google does not directly benefit from the android fork amazon created but i think it is also a quite good and interesting example of the often called openness and freedom of Android. It is quite refreshing to see a big company using Android as the base and modifying it completely to their needs.


Galaxy Tab 8/10 the Xoom or the Eee Pad Transformer are the best selling Androids up to date but to call them successful is quite of a stretch.

For example, last week a Lenovo executive claimed that Samsung's Galaxy Tab sales were far lower than what Samsung vaguely stated: 20,000 actual sales, rather than two million (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392422,00.asp#fbid=EJq...).


So I'm reading along... getting interested... sounds promising... purchase might be on the horizon...

Amazon has painted over the rough surfaces of Google’s Android operating system

Now I won't even consider buying it until the cyanogenmod port is in decent shape. Why do manufactures always do this to android? The custom UI looks nicer (arguable, roll with it), but always kill usability because they don't understand how to have their software play nice and feel right on android. It might be better on the kindle fire because the biggest offenders I see are the dialer and text message app, but I won't hold my breath.


They aren't making an Android table, they are making a Kindle tablet that runs some Android programs.


I imagine thats what they said in the boardroom.

But its still a layer ontop of Android.


It isn't, really. They've built their Kindle product on the Android codebase, but it isn't Android and they won't be allowed to even call it an Android tablet, because they're not dancing to Google's tune.

The new Kindle tablet may be sort-of compatible with Android today, but this isn't likely to remain the case since there is no feedback loop or collaboration between Google and Amazon in this.


So when Ubuntu releases their own app store combined with a new UI, it won't be "Linux" anymore? Just software built on top of the "Linux codebase"?


Linux is a kernel, not an OS or a UI.

But whatever. Amazon isn't just putting their own UI over Android like Samsung and HTC are doing. They're forking it.


That doesn't make a ton of sense; Google's use of the "Android" trademark is closer to the OSG's use of "UNIX" than to how "Linux" is used.


If Ubuntu forks Linux substantially in the process, then it won't be Linux anymore.


Tivo or Roku are a layer on top of Linux, but that doesn't mean they are fully capable Linux boxes. The OS is just a tool to build upon.


If it can't access the Android app store (which I'd guess the Kindle Fire can't), then the customer won't be aware of that fact.


This is more than just a skin, like the handset manufacturers do. It's not supposed to be an Android device, it's an Amazon device.


bleh, thats even worse.


why do people get upset by this? Android is a nice baseline. Think of it as the tide that raises all ships. What's wrong with a manufacturer experimenting?

NB. I don't support lock downs or anything like that, of course. my point is that there's nothing wrong with them customizing and branching it off into something else. isn't that the whole point?


I agree with you, except that years of painful Windows crapware experience has taught me that manufacturers don't often do a very good job at "value adding", unless you define value as meddling pointlessly with things that work, or lining their own pockets through pre-installed junk software partnerships.

That said, Amazon have a solid reputation so I don't think any of that applies in this particular case.


its true, once you throw in windows stuff (especially wm6), this sounds terrible.

but the counter is that debian is really cool, but the ubuntu branch is a home run. so in conclusion… I dont know. but new is better than stagnate.


You have a point, and experimenting is a good thing.

As I've seen it, the users they aren't afraid of change and are upset by the fact they're experimenting, the objections seem to be centered around not having the option to go back when they don't like it. And that the experimentation is often disliked in the first place because they're not less genuinely UX driven experiments, they're more of an attempt at uniqueness for the sake of branding.


You're making assumptions about usability before using the product.


I've been burned enough. Doctor, it hurts when I buy products from manufacturers that muck around with android....


The difference between Amazon and the other manufacturers is that Amazon isn't selling this as Android. They are selling it as a proprietary tablet that they support as such.

The other manufacturers sell "Android" devices, and when it doesn't work, they point fingers in all directions.


Outside of the amazing marketing and stance that amazon holds, this really doesn't seem like much. I don't see a lot that my parents would get excited about at least, and if they aren't the market, I am not sure who is.


If it can web browse with Flash then (modulo the dead end hp touchpad) it's the cheapest tablet web browser that can play games on facebook. My wife is a long time Apple fan since she was a Graphic Designer, but she turned her nose up at the iPad due to lack of Flash and some specific games she wants to play on Facebook.


It's not much compared to the iPad, but not everyone can afford the iPad. The $199 price point puts it in a different category. Heck, at $199, it's the kind of gift I'd easily buy for a friend or family member's birthday.


And it has a browser that renders on the cloud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u7F_56WhHk&feature=playe...


Isn't that what Opera does on their mobile platform?


Mostly correct. Opera servers compress pages before passing them along to the mobile device. [0]

[0] http://www.opera.com/mobile/features/


Currently on Opera Mini, yes. Personally I think it's a good idea, and can't wait for it to expand to pre-compiling Javascript.


Expect Google to match or beat Amazon pricing for tablets RSN--especially given their acquisition of Motorola. There really is no money in Android, especially for OEMs without a content or advertising play.


Exactly what is the differentiation between a tablet and e-reader? This thing is aimed squarely at the BN Nook Color. Why is it being compared to the much more expensive and feature-full iPad?


I think that the iPad comparisons are due to the content available (movies, tv, music) and especially the App Store. If you want to do anything with the Nook Color that's not included in the tin you need to root it. The kindle browser sounds nice too. I can see a lot of people who balk at the iPad's price tag snapping these up.


Anybody know if there are comprehensive specs anywhere? I can't find information about the resolution anywhere. Additionally, it looks like most sites thought it was going to cost $250.


"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."

I've always had a lot of respect for Bezos and what he's done but this lowers my opinion of him. Not only is it a petty cheap shot, it's not even true (so does he not know somehow, or is he lying?). Most tablet makers were having a hard time competing with the iPad on price. It's incredibly cheap for what it does.



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