Amazon has finally unveiled its much-rumored Android-based tablet today, dubbed the Kindle Fire. The 7-inch (1024 x 600 ) device will feature a heavily customized interface tailored around Amazon's services and a low starting price of $200. To reach that price point, the Kindle Fire forgoes 3G access, a microphone and front/back cameras. However, the device does include Wi-Fi and a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which normally runs $79/year.
That means you'll get a taste of Amazon's collection of streaming video content and free or discounted shipping for your purchases at Amazon.com. You'll also get access to the Android Appstore, Kindle books, magazines, and more -- all stored for free via Amazon Cloud Storage and synced between devices invisibly in the background. Whispersync now works with video content, so you can pick up where you left off in a movie or TV show even after switching devices.
Other specs include 8GB of internal storage, a USB 2.0 port, and battery life good for up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
The company is also introducing something called Amazon Silk, which it described as a lightning-fast web browser that takes advantage of Amazon's EC2 cloud computing engine. CEO Jeff Bezos explains that Silk splits the workload so that some web requests are handled locally by the Kindle Fire, while others are handled remotely on Amazon's cloud and sent back optimized for your device. It'll act as a "limitless cache" for the sites you visit to let you browse faster.
Amazon says the Kindle Fire will start shipping on November 15 but pre-orders are starting today. The company also unveiled a $99 touchscreen e-reader called the Kindle Touch and a regular Kindle that will start at just $79.