October 01, 2011, 8:19 AM — Amazon compromised on several hardware features of its Kindle Fire to deliver the most affordable mainstream 7-inch media tablet. Arriving on November 15 for $199, the Kindle Fire will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple's iPad.
Since the market also contains several other Android competitors, can Amazon claim the number two tablet spot? Let's take a look.
As previous reports indicated, the Kindle Fire looks a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook because it was designed by the same company that helped Research In Motion build that tablet. The Fire is slightly thicker than the PlayBook, yet thinner than 7-inch Android tablets such as the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 or the Toshiba Thrive 7". Apple still maintains the slimmest tablet in the bunch.
The screen on the Kindle Fire uses IPS technology (also found on the iPad), with a resolution of 1024 pixels by 600 pixels, which is in line with most current 7-inch Android tablets. The notable exception here is the Toshiba Thrive 7", which uses a higher-resolution display.
Amazon didn't skimp too much on performance for its media tablet. The Fire packs an unspecified dual-core processor (probably 1GHz), but there's no word on the amount of RAM. What Amazon did skimp on are cameras--there's no front or back camera, and there's no MicroSD card slot (Amazon is banking on cloud storage), no HDMI, GPS, or 3G capability.