By Tech Powered Dad | September 28, 2011
Amazon ended months of speculation about their plans for a tablet when they announced the Kindle Fire. The Fire is a 7-inch tablet built less with designs on knocking off the iPad and more with the intent of expanding Amazon’s current advantage in the e-reader sphere, and certainly going after the Nook. The Kindle Fire is an Android tablet that has WIFI, but no camera, microphone, or 3G. In addition to bring the Amazon name, it also features an incredibly low price of just $199.
First impressions are that this is an interesting choice by Amazon. Rather than try to beat Apple at their own game, they are sticking with what they are good at. The Kindle is popular for a number of reasons. It’s small, lightweight, easy to read, inexpensive, and minimalistic. The Kindle Fire does potentially offer something for schools that are wary of the expense of the iPad as well as other concerns like it being a little to useful as a gaming device.
On the other hand, there are plenty of rumors out there that the Kindle Fire is not the endgame for Amazon’s tablet plans. Supposedly, Amazon has been working on two tablets. The smaller Kindle Fire (code named Coyote) is today’s announcement, but apparently, a 10 inch tablet designed to truly compete with the iPad, code named Hollywood, is yet to come. It could be announced in a matter of months.
Today’s focus remains on the Kindle Fire, however. I picked up an iPad 2 recently, in large part to keep in touch with the explosion of education apps. If not for that reason, I would have given serious consideration to a Kindle as my e-reader, but its weak web browser and lack of ability to use apps held me back. That said, the Kindle has been an excellent tablet if your primary tablet need has been for an e-reader. I’ve had the feeling that the Kindle was an easier sell as an academic device to schools to0, since it’s game and messaging capabilities were limited.
If you’ve been following Tech Powered Math, you know that I’ve been writing about my hope that the College Board and the electronics giants will get together on a plan for a tablet that would be allowed on the the SAT, potentially moving us beyond the graphing calculator as a standalone device. All along, I’ve thought Amazon could be a company that bridges that gap. The Kindle Fire won’t be that device, but I’ll be watching carefully to see how schools approach it as compared to the iPad.