Amazon lifts the lid on the Kindle Fire

Amazon's Fire tablet is so much more than just a suped-up ereader

The speculation is over, the Kindle Fire has been confirmed and we're suitably impressed. As speculated, the Fire is a 7-incher, powered by a dual-core processor, complete with a clumsy-proof IPS gorilla glass display, with 16 million colours.

It's running Android 2.1 – rubbish, we know – but before you get all cynical on us, this isn't Android as we know it. Amazon has put its stamp all over this thing to the point where you won't even recognise Android's familiar face under all that Amazon make-up. For example, the Android Market has been eschewed in favour of an Amazon-centric experience built around Amazon Cloud Player and Cloud Drive. It sports a Cover Flow-style interface, complete with a virtual shelf view for your most read and watched content. You'll also be able to browse full colour magazines.

Its Silk browser has a couple of tricks under its sleeve –  the ability to process web pages in the cloud for a faster browsing experience, alongside the ability to learn your browsing patters and pre-load the pages you read the most.

Amazon's even chucked in a tablet-optimised shopping app to make your Amazon shopping adventures more simple and streamlined. In fact, there are a lot of services on offer here. There's Amazon Prime, the MP3 store with over 17 million songs and its Prime Instant Video streaming service for 100,000 advert-free movies and shows, for – are you ready – zilch. Amazon says it's committed hundreds of millions of dollars to license content and by partnering up with the likes of CBS, NBC Universal and Fox, we're looking at a pretty awesome entertainment device. And social network zealots have nothing to worry about, Facebook and Twitter are compatible.

Moving onto connectivity. It's turned its back on 3G to be a Wi-Fi only device, but that doesn't mean we should rule out better connectivity for next year (as well as a bigger 10in model). There's also no mic or camera, but Amazon has extended its Whispersync feature – which synchronises content across all your devices –  to include movies and TV shows. So, you'll be able to switch to the big screen when you've had enough of tablet viewing and your movie will be at the exact point you left off. Free Amazon Cloud Storage has also been chucked in, alongside a month's trial of Amazon Prime.

Obviously, its list of features isn't going to rival the iPad's, but its US$200 price tag on the other hand is what's really attractive here. It's released into the wild on 15th November in the US and available for pre-order now. We've yet to hear word on UK pricing and availability, but we'll let you know when we do.


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