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Kindle Fire GraphicMany of us have been anxiously awaiting for Amazon to come out with a device that is a step up from their popular line of Kindle eBook readers. There was a lot of anticipation building up to the Kindle Fire tablet computer. Some people were expecting the Fire to be a full fledged affordable tablet computer while others were hoping for a device that would add more functionality to their Amazon eBook reader.

Now that it’s here, the big question is whether Amazon was actually able to live up to consumer expectations. Before I answer that, let me take a few minutes and go over the specs of the device.

Specifications:

Price – $199.99
Processor – Dual-core 1GHz TI Cortex A9 OMAP4
OS – A Customized Verizon of Android 2.3 (Not compatible all with standard Android Apps)
Display – 7″ multi-touch with anti-reflective coating (1024 x 600 px resolution)
Battery – Reported to run for 8 hours for reading or 7.5 for video playback (with Wi-Fi turned off)
Recharge Time – 4 hours
Storage – 8GB Internal but only 6GB is available for users to store files (free cloud storage for Amazon content)
Dimensions 4.7″ x 7.5″ x 0.45″
Weight – 14.6 ounces
Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 b,g,n
Cameras – None
Ports – USB Micro B, 3.5mm headphone jack
Warranty – 1 year limited (optional 2 year extended)

Who is Amazon Targeting With This Device?

They’ve priced the device at only $200 to make it an attractive buy but if you’re expecting it to perform like any other Android powered tablet computer I think you might be a little disappointed. Amazon has customized the Android operating system so that it’s more like their own OS than what you might be accustomed to if you own any other Google Android powered devices. You can’t download apps from Google Play but Amazon does have a growing selection of their own apps that will run on the Fire.

Owners of the Fire can choose from a large selection of TV shows and movies that they can rent from Amazon to play on the device. They can also play music and eBooks that they buy from Amazon on the Kindle Fire.

There is actually a service that Amazon is hoping Fire users will subscribe to. It’s their content delivery service called “Amazon Prime”. If you choose to subscribe to this service, it will cost you $79 a year. Subscribers can play an unlimited number of the thousands of movies and TV shows that are available in the Amazon Prime content library. They can “borrow” books from the Kindle Owners Lending Library as well but only at a rate of one book a month.

What Are People Saying About Amazon’s New Low Priced Tablet?

Well, it’s getting mixed reviews. For those who were hoping that it would be in the same class as other Android powered tablets, they might be a little disappointed and this group of people have put out a few negative reviews for this device. Those who just wanted a little bit more functionality out of their eBook reader are saying quite good things about this Amazon tablet.

What Are My Thoughts On The Kindle Fire?

I think you have to look at this device for what it “is” and not for what it “isn’t”. What I mean by this is that if you think of it as a device to consume more types of content than you could consume with traditional eBook readers, you’ll probably be quite happy with it. If you’re hoping that it will be able to stack up against popular tablet computers like the iPad 2 or the Toshiba Thrive, you might be in for a let down in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually own a Kindle Fire and I really like it but it does operate a bit differently than my Samsung Galaxy 10.1. For example, I can’t go to the Google Play store and select apps from their huge selection. This hasn’t really been a problem for me because most of the apps that I use are now available from Amazon for the Fire.

Overall, I think the Kindle Fire is a good buy especially considering that it’s less expensive than many of the tablets that are on the market today.

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