ONLINE RETAILER Amazon announced on Thursday that its Kindle Fire tablet will finally reach tablet hungry consumers in the UK.
It said it will put its second generation Kindle Fire tablet on sale in the UK for a wallet friendly £129 in October, along with a new and more powerful 7in Kindle Fire HD tablet priced at £159.
When it launched in the US last year, Amazon's original Kindle Fire made a good start, managing to shift a lot of units over the holiday season. But due to less impressive hardware specifications, it failed to stand up against Apple's new Ipad when that launched a few months later in February. As a result, many Kindle users were left gasping for a more powerful tablet.
However, this time, it looks like Amazon has ensured that the same thing won't happen in the UK this year and has upped its game, launching a device with much better specifications.
Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the more powerful 7in Kindle Fire HD will feature an IPS HD 1280x800 resolution display with a polarising filter and an anti-glare finish, a speedy 1.2GHz dual core processor and Dolby Digital Plus audio - all weighing only 395g and running for 11 hours on a single charge. Amazon also promises that it will provide "40 percent faster downloads and streaming compared to the next fastest tablet".
This is nothing but great news for tablet fans who are either in the market to buy a more portable tablet or want a tablet and don't have the funds to splash out over £500 on the high-end models. Filling a narrowing gap in the consumer technology market, the Kindle is bound to sell well in the UK in the run up to Christmas.
However, Amazon isn't alone as there's another major player standing in the retailer's way - Google with its Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 showed the technology world that a low-cost tablet could offer high quality hardware and deliver a great experience, and it seems that Amazon has taken a page out of Google's book when planning its Kindle Fire release.
So far, only Google's Nexus 7 has offered this sort of high performance in a low-priced package in the UK, and we're sure that Amazon's announcement has given Google some concern, as consumers now have to decide which budget tablet they like best out of the two.
Amazon has already started boasting about how its new tablet is better than Google's offering, promising in its announcement on Thursday that the Kindle Fire HD's OMAP 4470 processor will be significantly faster than the Tegra 3 chip found in Google's Nexus 7 tablet and citing floating point operations (per) second (FLOPS) figures as evidence.
It might sound shallow, but simple specifications comparisons such as this just might do the trick and persuade buyers into handing over their cash to Amazon as opposed to Google. Not only that, we think that being the newer offering of the two will definitely work in Amazon's favour.
Whether the second generation Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD will steal sales from Google in the run up to Christmas or not, we think that Amazon's new offerings undoubtedly will set the UK budget tablet market alight.
Alhough Amazon will make hardly any profit from sales of the Kindle tablets themselves - making profits through content sales and the services it offers instead - the Kindle Fire announcement is a warning to other Android tablet makers to up their games and start offering more unique services where they can make profits, so they can bring lower cost tablets to the consumer marketplace.
One more negative point worth making in relation to Amazon's Kindle announcement is that there is no mention of the 8.9in model of the new Kindle Fire HD at Amazon in the UK.
It would be a mistake for the retailer not to bring both models of the new tablet to the UK because at the moment the Nexus 7 is leading the budget tablet market and, if you think about it, there's isn't any other major tablet maker that offers a 8.9in or larger screen at a very tempting price. Amazon could seriously miss out there.
Nevertheless, the release of such high powered but low priced hardware is nothing but good news for British consumers looking to buy a budget tablet. Amazon said orders will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, so we would advise getting your preorders in now, because once October hits, these new Kindle tablets are going to fly off the shelves. µ