The Kindle Fire, which has a seven-inch screen, smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inches, will be available in the United States on November 15, the Seattle-based Amazon announced at a launch event in Manhattan.
“Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we’ve been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers,” Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said.
Presenting the new tablet to the press, Bezos said Amazon is hoping to sell “many millions” and touted the features of a new Web browser in the Kindle Fire called Amazon Silk.
The Kindle Fire comes with a 30-day free subscription to Amazon Prime, whose members pay $79 a year for free shipping and receive other benefits such as unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.
Bezos also unveiled three new Kindle electronic book readers: a new basic Kindle for $79, a Kindle Touch for $99 and a Kindle Touch 3G for $149.
The Kindle Fire has Wi-Fi connectivity only and is powered by Google’s Android software. It does not have a camera like the iPad.
According to technology analysts, a low-priced Amazon tablet could pose the most serious challenge yet to the iPad, which has dominated the fast-growing market for tablet computers since it went on sale in April 2010.
“Amazon will sell millions of tablets, and the rapid fire adoption of the Kindle Fire will give app developers a reason — finally — to develop Android tablet apps,” said Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.
“Apple’s place as market leader is secure, but Amazon will be a strong number two, and we expect no other serious tablet competitors until Windows 8 tablets launch,” Rotman Epps said.
At $199, Amazon is significantly undercutting Apple with the price of the Kindle Fire. Apple’s cheapest iPad sells for $499.
It also has a pre-installed Amazon shopping application as Amazon seeks to drive Kindle Fire buyers to its online store, which features books, music, movies, TV shows and games.
Kindle – world’s bestselling e-reader now lighter, faster, and more affordable than ever – only $79
“Kindle Touch” with easy-to-use touch screen – only $99
“Kindle Touch 3G” with free 3G – the top of the line Kindle e-reader – only $149
“Kindle Fire” – the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, and web browsing with all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, Amazon’s new revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, vibrant color touch screen, and powerful dual-core processor – all for only $199