Kindle Fires up New Platforms, Prices [ARTICLE]

Kindle FireIs an e-reader on your holiday gift buying list? If so, Amazon now has options for nearly everybody. If you are eyeing the new Kindle Fire, act quickly. It won’t be released until Nov. 15, 2011, but Amazon already is queuing up pre-orders on a first come, first served basis.

Introducing the Kindle Fire

Amazon chose to fill an interesting gap with the Kindle Fire. It’s not a full-fledged tablet computer like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy, but it’s much more than the existing Kindle readers. The Fire also is a smart business move for Amazon. It gives them an opportunity to sell a larger variety of Amazon content on a whole, new mobile platform.

Not Just Books Anymore

The Kindle Fire is an e-reader, but it also was designed to appeal to any person who likes to consume content—movies, games, books and TV shows as well as anything you can find on the Internet. To download content or surf the Web, you’ll have to be connected with Wi-Fi—so either your in-home wireless network or the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or office building. Connecting with 3G is not an option for the Kindle Fire.

Kindle Movies and TV Shows

How to Use 8 GB in 8 Hours

All the Kindle family members are known for long-lasting batteries. The Kindle Fire doesn’t disappoint. Even though the Vibrant Color IPS screen demands more battery power, you’ll still get a full 8 hours of continuous reading time or 7.5 hours of video playback time. The Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard models keep a charge for about 2 months when wireless is turned off.

You can store more than enough content on a Kindle Fire to last you those 8 hours. Its 8 GB of memory will hold 80 apps as well as either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. Decide on a couple of movies plus a few of your favorite play lists to keep on the device, and everything else will be safely available for you to access, at no charge, from the Amazon Cloud—as long as you bought the content from Amazon.

Exclusive New Web Browser

The Kindle Fire introduces users to a brand new web browser: Amazon Silk. It was designed to shift much of the “heavy lifting” of web browsing from the processor on your device to the Amazon cloud servers that make up Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon Silk learns about sites and user behaviors so that it can anticipate your next move, resulting in faster page loading and slicker navigation. You can set up default viewing preferences on Silk so that you see mobile or desktop versions of websites, and it supports Flash.

A Budget-friendly Gift for Book Lovers

At $199.00, Kindle Fire is a budget friendly option compared to a $500+ iPad. If the price is too much or you prefer an E Ink display, the 4 GB Kindle Touch and 4 GB Kindle Keyboard now start at $99.00. A 2 GB Kindle with a single, 5-way controller now sells for $79.00. Buy the Fire and an E Ink Kindle and you’ll still spend less than you would for an iPad and you’ll get the best of both worlds: an E Ink display for reading books plus a portable device for surfing the Web and watching videos.

Kindle Touch / Kindle Keyboard

Spend slightly more and you can get a Kindle Touch or Kindle Keyboard with free 3G access. It might be a worthwhile upgrade if you travel a lot and like a buy-as-you-read approach to books.

A Case for Blowing Your Budget

Whether you receive it as a gift or buy it for yourself, consider getting a case to help protect and carry your Kindle. Amazon carries a large selection or check for handmade versions. Prices vary widely from $125 for a Kate Spade original to $10 for a slim sleeve.