Skip to main content

Amazon Kindle Fire tablet priced at $199

Amazon has unveiled its long-awaited tablet, the Kindle Fire, and it looks like many of the rumours and predictions that have been doing the rounds are scarily on the mark.

Manufactured by ODM giant Quanta, the Kindle Fire - a name which plays on the popularity of the Kindle eReader while ensuring that people realise it's an exciting new device - is a BlackBerry PlayBook in all but name, featuring the same seven-inch display and general layout.

Within the device is a cut-down processor and a copy of Google's Android mobile platform, which replaces the PlayBook's customised QNX-based BlackBerry OS. There's no camera or microphone included, and 3G connectivity isn't an option - although Wi-Fi is included.

The Android OS hasn't made it through the process unscathed, either: Amazon has opted to dress the software up in its own custom interface, creating something simple to use but unlikely to appeal to those who are looking for a fully-fledged Android tablet.

The key point is price: at $199, the tablet is clearly being sold at a loss - much as the company did with the original Kindle, in the hopes of making the lost money back up with content purchases. The purchase price also includes 30-day access to Amazon Prime, with the ability to stream videos to the tablet.

It's a risky strategy, but one that is likely necessary: compared to higher-priced tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Apple's iPad, the Kindle Fire is something of a damp squib in all but price.

UK availability and pricing have yet to be confirmed.