updated 12:05 am EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Amazon dives into tablet market
Amazon's Kindle Fire has finally arrived on the market, officially bringing the retailer into the tablet arena. Electronista has taken a look at the new device, which faces stiff competition from Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus in the seven-inch category, along with the iPad and other Android tablets in the 10-inch group.
Earlier this evening we reported on problems some users were having with the Fire's Wi-Fi connection. After we turned on our test tablet, we were immediately prompted to download the v6.1 firmware after choosing a Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, the download was painfully slow as we encountered the same problems that other users have described.
Although the Kindle Fire runs Android 2.3, Amazon added its own custom overlay to differentiate the device from its competitors. We like some of the custom interfaces from other companies, such as Samsung, but we found the Fire interface to be less refined.
The hardware seemed to handle UI transitions well, while the browser performance seemed to be decent. We found overall performance to lag behind the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, but Amazon's tablet is sold for a significantly lower price.
Our early impressions of the Kindle Fire were mixed, as the device appears to be a solid contender against other low-priced tablets but lacking any stellar features, other than a low price, that will set it apart from the crowd. Stay tuned for an in-depth review for a deeper dive into the tablet's features.