The Birth of the Kindle Fire

According to the in-the-know experts at TechCrunch, Amazon is holding a press conference this Wednesday to formally unveil its long-speculated and often-rumored tablet, now officially named the Kindle Fire.

The online arguing over the proposed specifications of the device center around some key dynamics of the Fire. First, while it doesn’t pretend to take the place of the Kindle reader—hence the official name, despite the popular talk that it would simply be referred to as the Kindle tablet or sometimes, the Kindle 4—some proponents of the device also state that it doesn’t even pretend to compete with the iPad in that it is more an e-reader and entertainment-based device. Evidence for that comes alongside Amazon’s announcement that it has partnered with Fox to bring more viewer content to the site, although the previously speculated free Amazon Prime account with purchase may not be happening after all.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reiterated his earlier position, one that he made after actually being allowed to poke, prod, and drool over the device a few weeks ago, that the Fire looks an awful lot a revamped Blackberry Playbook. He further backed up that point in an article today in which he explains that the same ODM who produced the Playbook created a lot of the design for the Fire, which will only help Amazon speed up the production in time to get the device to market in time for holiday shopping.

While the rumors about Fire running on its own version of Android—a veritable AmazonOS, as some commenters complained—seem to hold true, one thing that may actually be up in the air since the previous sneak peek is the almighty price. Originally slated to retail for around $250, talk is that it will now be closer to the $300 mark; that’s an interesting change since Barnes and Noble is set to host its own press conference next month in which the e-reader/tablet maker of the Nook Color releases its second device in the line, the Nook Color 2, which is supposed to retail for $250.

Of course, naysayers are standing at the ready with jokes about having a “$99 Fire Sale” if the device tanks, taking a stab at the HP TouchPad at the same time. Meanwhile, supportive fans of the project have already made sweeping statements about the unheard of functionality of such a device. While the forums and message boards are ablaze with comments both good and bad, one thing is for certain: if it’s like most of the projects Amazon tackles, it will be something worth waiting for.

Mercy Pilkington (1982 Posts)

is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.

  • Ryno Bones

    Not gonna hold my breath.  It’s the first “Kindle” I’m probably not going to buy, and it pains me to say that.  B&N beat them to the line and is an entire generation ahead when it comes to tablet based readers.  I’m sure it will be a success no matter what, though.  Amazon is the new Howard Stern:  The King of All Media.

  • MercyPilkington

    That’s a completely understandable reaction. After the disappointment with the TouchPad and the dissolving of some other tablet lines, running out and buying the “hot new thing” has become a much riskier venture than in the past. Amazon has more than proven itself in the realm of e-reading, but how will incorporating other forms of entertainment content play out? Thanks for reading!

  • Nards Barley

    While I know everyone is doing it, talking about undercutting the IPAD on price or being an IPAD-killer,  I just don’t see how a 7″ inch device can be compared to a 10″ device.  I think most people are finding out that they either have a specific size preference, or that they have a need for multiple devices of different devices. Now if Amazon releases a 10″ device in the future then maybe I can see making a head to head comparison.

  • Michael

    michael: I know Amazon has plans to release a 7 inch tablet this year and a 10 inch version next year

  • Mercy Pilkington

    You’re right. That’s probably why so many people are already saying that the Fire isn’t even in iPad’s league in terms of competing. It’s pretty smart to get their feet wet with 7inches before venturing into a more competing size and higher price point. It’s crazy how we haven’t even really seen the device but people are already comparing it whats on the market.