With Amazon’s entry into the burgeoning tablet market today with Jeff Bezo’s introduction of the new Kindle Fire, Apple’s iPad might finally have some competition. While based on Google’s Android mobile and tablet operating system, Amazon’s Kindle Fire differentiates itself from it’s Android tablet brethren on four competitively unique features, 1) it will be sold thru the biggest e-commerce storefront in the world which has already had huge success with its Kindle e-book reader; 2) it will leverage Amazon’s massive content library and licenses in books, movies and music that is bigger than even Apple’s iTunes; 3) it will leverage Amazon’s massive cloud ecosystem delivering new and interesting services; and 4) and perhaps the biggest differentiator, it will sell for $199 which is $300 cheaper than the cheapest Apple iPad 2. Keep in mind, the HP TouchPad, while a flop at $499, sold out in less than 24 hours when its price dropped to $99-149, even with the prospect that the WebOS it runs on would not be supported moving forward and there were very few apps for it. But what will the Kindle Fire do for gaming?
While spec-wise, the Kindle Fire is no iPad 2 or Motorola Xoom for that matter, the Kindle Fire does sport enough firepower to still be potent for gaming with its 1 Ghz TI OMAP processor at a much more affordable price point. It is also based on Google’s Android operating system and while Amazon has greatly modified the user interface to its own liking and left the Android Market off the device, let’s not forget Amazon owns its own Android app store where one can get their Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies fix just as easily as in the Android Market. Plus, while it might not stay that way forever, Amazon has been giving away an Android app a day for free, which has included quite a few games including Angry Birds and everybody likes free. So combine free apps and games with its Android roots and its $199 price point and you have a pretty worthy competitor to Apple’s iPad, which should easily become the #1 Android-based tablet in the market almost overnight. This will translate to more games being developed for Android and Kindle Fire, which will translate into better Android games.
But will it play?
The Kindle Fire sports a 7-inch 1024 x 600 resolution IPS panel with Gorilla Glass coating, a 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage all in a device that weighs 14.6 ounces, which puts it on par, horsepower-wise to the latest Android tablets and Apple iPad 2. It might lack some RAM and internal storage but it definitely has similar horsepower compared to the latest generation of tablets and about the same horsepower as the Playstation 2 game console so there will be enough power to do some decent mobile gaming on the device. While the 7-inch screen is smaller than the 10-inch screen on the iPad, it is actually a more pocket-able device size that still has considerably more screen real estate than your Sony PS Vita/PSP or Nintendo 3DS/DS. All-in-all, the Kindle Fire should put Android tablet gaming on the map and open up tablets and tablet gaming to the masses while giving Android game developers a big new potential customer and gamer base. And did we mention, it’s also an e-book reader.