Alas, we've not been able to get our hands on Amazon's diminutive new 7-inch, $199 Kindle Fire tablet just yet, but we were treated to a lengthy demo of the thing courtesy of an Amazon rep, answering many of our questions and showing us just what how the thing performs. How does it fare? Very well, thank you very much. More details after the break.
The reports we'd heard of the Kindle Fire being very similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook, and you can certainly put any doubt you had about that to rest. As expected, the thing is very clearly related to RIM's hardware, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. We liked the way the PlayBook feels in the hand, and while we only briefly had the opportunity to touch a Kindle Fire, it gives off the same quality impression.
What it won't have, though, is the number of physical inputs. It'll make do with just a power button and nothing more -- if you want to turn down the volume you'll need to dive into the status bar. Whether or not that proves to be an annoyance in the long-run remains to be seen, but we're thinking it will be.
Software performance seems quite smart at this point, switching tasks and apps in rapid fire during the demo we were given. We were only shown a brief glimpse of the new Silk browser, but we must say the thing appears to deliver on its promises. The dual-core 1GHz, TI OMAP processor certainly seems adequate, too, even if it is only paired with 512MB of memory. It also has 8GB of storage on tap -- a bit light these days, but with all your content synced online, in theory there's no need for more. In theory.
Ultimately the Fire is looking like a nice little device, and at $199 it could be a decidedly better option than the Nook Color. Will it be? Well, we'll find out sometime before it ships.