Amazon Stokes The Kindle Fire

Alison Young
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October 05, 2011
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Photo courtesy Amazon

Since Amazon initially released the Kindle in 2007, it has successfully sold more than 18 million. In an attempt to further compete with Apple’s iPad and delve deeper into the tablet wars, and after much hype, last week Amazon debuted the Kindle Fire for $199. Amazon also refreshed its line of e-readers with a $149 Kindle Touch 3G, a $99 Kindle Touch without 3G and a non-Touch $79 Kindle.

“Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we’ve been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully integrated service for customers,” says Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. “With Kindle Fire, you have instant access to all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, the convenience of Amazon Whisper-sync, our revolutionary cloud-accelerated Web browser, the speed and power of a state-of-the-art dual-core processor, a vibrant touch display with 16 million colors in high resolution, and a light 14.6-ounce design that’s easy to hold with one hand all for only $199. We’re offering premium products, and we’re doing it at non-premium prices.”


The Kindle Fire is the only device that runs the Amazon Silk browser, a “split browser” architecture that accelerates the power of the mobile device hardware by running with Amazon Web Services Cloud. It has a dual-core processor and runs the latest Google Android software, so you can download apps from the Android Market. It also sports a 7-inch color touchscreen display, and you can watch videos from Amazon’s streaming Prime service and play your music from the Amazon Store.

While the Fire is smaller than the iPad’s 10-inch screen and doesn’t have a camera, it is lighter and supports Adobe Flash (a seemingly huge issue everyone keeps bringing up). Additionally, all the syncing will be done wirelessly.

You can pre-order your Kindle Fire now at amazon.com/kindlefire, and it will be available Nov. 15. Unfortunately, the initial version of the Kindle Fire is Wi-Fi only. We can only hope Amazon will release a 3G version in the near future.

 

three star

Google Flights Search

Google recently announced Google Flights Search, yet another airline flight search tool. This is not surprising since Google acquired ITA Software last year, the company that powers most of the big travel search engines (i.e., Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak).

It’s almost as if Google released this service before it was completely finished.

Photo courtesy Google

For example, no international flights, small U.S. cities (sometimes even large U.S. cities), premium class flights or one-way tickets are supported. Plus you’ll only see results from participating airlines, and there is no mobile app for this yet. Many improvements are apparently needed before this will be 100 percent useful. Despite those shortcomings, when performing a search within cities it actually supports, it’s fast as lightning.

On the plus side, you can do all of your searches without leaving Google’s main search page(no progress bar to wait for). There’s a clean, minimalistic interface that is familiar to Google, and the easy-to-look-at bar chart shows the cheapest dates to fly, along with the matrix display that filters flights by price.

Check it at google.com/flights.

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