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Amazon Explodes into the Tablet Market with Fire and Silk

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Amazon recently announced they're joining the fray with their own Android tablet. The Kindle Fire, Amazon's new tablet, isn't very exciting on its own. The tablet doesn't look remarkable, and the hardware spec is pretty modest. You could even say it looks pretty weak. So what's the big deal? You can see from the title I think this is an interesting tablet. Silk is the big deal.

Amazon Silk is the new browser Amazon has made for the Kindle Fire. It ties into the Amazon EC2 service (the cloud) to work faster. Heavy processing can be handled by a server somewhere else seamlessly. In addition, Amazon will prebuild and cache your favorite pages so they're ready for you. With the power of Amazon's EC2 service behind it, this weak little tablet suddenly outperforms the competition. I don't expect Amazon to stop with the web browser either. They've already mentioned storing data on their servers. This means that despite a small amount of storage on the tablet itself, you'll be able to store more than other tablets. As their tablet\cloud hybrid evolves we can expect to see more of the heavy lifting done somewhere other than the tablet. If Amazon can integrate both storage and general CPU processing remotely and seamlessly, what you'll have is a semi-autonomous thin client to a much more powerful and expandable system.

This opens some interesting doors. Imagine being able to switch to a new tablet and all your apps, photos, and settings are already there. You could start a download and turn off your tablet. Since the download is happening somewhere else, you don't need to waste that local storage or power. The local memory just becomes a cache into your storage pool on Amazon's network. Pairing the Kindle Fire with Amazon Prime gives you a lot of content on this little tablet.

There are downsides to the tablet. The resolution is low at 1024 x 600. Currently, you can only use the Amazon Cloud storage for storing Amazon digital content. The local memory is small and the battery life doesn't look amazing. The numbers they give for the battery life are with the wireless off. You can't use the cloud without wireless though.

Do I think this tablet has a chance to be a contender? For $199, yes, yes I do. This tablet has a very low price and is backed by a major player. This is definitely one to watch for. For that price, it's almost worth buying just to try out.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2011 04:46  

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