Enterprise Mobility: Amazon's Kindle Fire: Multimedia Powerhouse in a Walled Garden

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2011-11-16 Print this article Print
The Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire, which retails for $199, began shipping to customers Nov. 14. Amazon hopes customers will gravitate toward the 7-inch tablets tight integration with its online offerings.
Amazon's Kindle Fire began shipping Nov. 14, priced at $199 and offering access to the online retailer's extensive stores of streaming video and e-book content. The 7-inch device will inevitably be compared with not only the Apple iPad, but other tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab. However, the Kindle Fire boasts some significant differences from other devices on the market. For one, it is designed first and foremost as an easy-to-use portal to Amazon content: In addition to seamlessly connecting to the company's music, e-book and video offerings, it also allows users to download apps from Amazon's branded Appstore for Android. As opposed to other tablets, whose user interfaces center on a grid-like screen of apps, the Kindle Fire's start screen includes a set of virtual "shelves" lined with recently used media and apps. This is not a device friendly to customization. The Kindle Fire includes a purpose-built "Amazon Silk" browser that leverages the retailer's cloud architecture to speed Web page rendering. On the hardware side of things, the dual-core processor ensures apps run smoothly, and the dual speakers along the device's lower edge are crisp and clear (and surprisingly loud, if you set the volume high). While the tablet offers quite a bit for consumers looking for a multimedia device, it's a lightweight when it comes to business functions: Besides a native email app and access via the Appstore to some work-centric apps, there's precious little here for enterprise users looking for some robust productivity hardware.??í??í
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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