The Kindle Fire

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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.

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Services

The Kindle Fire places front-and-center the ability to watch streaming video, listen to music via Amazons Cloud Drive and read Kindle e-books.

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Hardware

The Kindle Fire boasts a dual-core processor but lacks the rear camera found in any number of competing tablets.

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Setup

In place of the grid-like screen of individual apps that defines most other tablets on the market, the Kindle Fires user interface centers on a set of virtual "shelves" stocked with media and apps. That seems a logical visual choice, considering how Amazon began as a bookseller.

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App Store

Amazon is offering apps via its branded Appstore for Android.

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Apps and Games

Fortunately, the Appstore for Android offers a broad collection of apps and games, which generally run smoothly, thanks to the Kindle Fires hardware.

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Silk Browser

The Kindle Fire leverages a purpose-built "Amazon Silk" browser that uses the retailers cloud architecture to speed Web page rendering.

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E-Reading

The Kindle Fires screen can be used to read not only black and white text, but also color books—giving it an advantage over Amazons previous Kindle e-readers, which presented only in gray scale.

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Lock Screen

The Kindle Fires lock screen, skinned somewhat to reflect Amazons sensibilities. The tablets user interface is built atop Google Android.??í

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Password

The Kindle Fires password screen, likewise with Amazons influence.

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Music

The Kindle Fire can stream music from Amazons Cloud Drive. As with other services available on the tablet, a strong WiFi connection (theres no 3G or 4G support) is a must. The speakers on the bottom of the device are loud and clear.

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Business

For more business-minded users, the Kindle Fire offers a native email app, along with apps via its storefront such as Quickoffice. The Fire will store and display documents such as PDFs.

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