Amazon, the world’s largest e-tailer, has announced their long rumored Kindle tablet at a press event in New York. The Amazon Kindle is its bestselling item, but is a dedicated eReader using an eInk screen, unlike the more powerful tablets currently available and the Barnes and Noble Nook Color. This new tablet, the Kindle Fire, features a seven inch full color LCD, will cost $199 and come with a free month of Amazon Prime, when it launches. Those who use the tablet may not be able to tell at first, but the operating system is Android and has been heavily skinned by Amazon. The skinning results in a rather locked in experience as everything Google will be gone, so there will be no Gingerbread, Honeycomb, or Ice Cream Sandwich updates in the future.
The Fire tablet will only have Wi-Fi connectivity, as compared to the Kindle DX and Kindle 3G+WiFi which both have 3G access. Whispersync will be accessible over the Wi-Fi connection, for downloading media and uploading bookmarks and notes. Naturally the device will have access to the Amazon Appstore. The obvious competition for this device is the Nook Color, but there is the possibility of it disrupting the higher-end tablet market, by offering performance at a price considerably lower than the top-tier. Of course, having the brand Amazon behind it will help.
As more details are announced, updates will be added.
Update: The Kindle Touch and a $79 Kindle have been announced. The Kindle Touch is an eInk reader and will be $99.
Update: The Kindle Fire will indeed have access to the Amazon Cloud Player for mp3's and videos. Dual-core processor inside.
Update: Kindle Fire will ship November 15, but pre-orders can be made starting later today.
Update: All the new Kindles are up on Amazon for purchase or pre-order. The Kindle Touch will ship on November 21, after the Fire. The $79 Kindle ships today. Versions of the eInk Kindles without ads are also available (all prices above include the ads).
Update: Looking at the dimensions listed on the Kindle Fire, the Kindle Keyboard (they've renamed the current Kindles to this) are almost the exact same size. Keyboard: 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.34" - Fire: 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45".
Image directly from the Amazon Kindle Fire page.