Amazon has unveiled its latest hardware venture, a colour tablet computer called Kindle Fire.
The device, set to be priced at $199 (£130) runs on a modified Android operating system from Google. It marks a drastic leap from the black and white e-readers that made the company famous.
The Kindle Fire is entering into a hugely competitive market, with the frontrunner being Apple’s iPad. It will also be competing with its rival bookselling giant, Barnes and Noble which released its e-reader the Nook in color earlier this year.
Will Findlater, editor of Stuff magazine, said, “It’s the price and the backup services that make it really exciting.”
“Content is the big differentiator. It’s what every other platform has been lacking, except the iPad,” Findlater added.
He refers to Amazon’s downloadable music store, streaming video service, and its mobile application store. Amazon is hoping that this media content, in conjunction with the notoriety of its Kindle brand, will launch the Kindle Fire to the top of an already saturated tablet market.
Amazon opted for just a 7” screen on its new device, despite the prevalence of 10” displays from competitors.
Ovum analyst Adam Leach said, “This screen size has undoubtedly helped them achieve a lower price point for the device but so far this form factor has not been popular with consumers, we shall see if this is related to other aspects of those devices other than its screen size. ”
Still, pricing is where Amazon has always shone and carved a place out for itself in the market. The Kindle Fire will be cheaper by $50 and more capable than the Nook color, and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the rival entry models from Apple, Samsung, and Motorola.
The entry-level Kindle e-reader has also received a price cut, now selling for $79, down from $99. Amazon UK will retail it for £89. A touch-screen version without a keyboard, known as Kindle Touch, will sell for $99, with no word yet on the UK pricing.
“These are premium products at non premium prices,” said Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.
“We are going to sell millions of these.”