Amazon “Fire” Tablet on Nov. 15, for $199; two new Kindles released

Lots of companies are taking on Apple’s iPad, but so far few of them have gained any traction. A report Tuesday showed that Apple had 80 percent of the tablet market.

Amazon’s plan to get seriously into the game includes three tablets: there’s a $99 touch version of the Kindle (at left), its existing e-book reader. It’s slimmer and lighter than the existing unit and comes in a dull gray/silver color. Instead of buttons, users will use taps to navigate around. A $149 3-G enabled version will also be available.

Amazon is also launching a $79 Kindle (below left)

That’s down from the $114 being charged for the cheapest unit today. It’ll serve ads to help offset the cost. The $79 Kindle weighs less than 6 ounces. It’s also 18 percent smaller than previous versions.

Both new tablets will have improved displays to make e-reading even easier.

But of course the big news of the day is the new Kindle Fire tablet. That’s the one that it hopes will bite into Apple’s market share.

It’s a 7-inch device and will cost $199. The Fire ships Nov. 15, but you can preorder it now.

It’s got a pretty display, a nice wide viewing angle and a dual-core processor. It’s 14.6 ounces and it should get Apple’s attention.

The Fire, in line with iPad, will have a full suite of services behind it at launch. It’ll have access to Amazon’s web services, its e-reader services, video and an app store. Amazon claims it can deliver more than 100,000 movies and TV shows from partners like NBC, 17 million songs (from 69 cents) and full color magazines in addition to apps. Just before this launch announcement, Amazon signed a licensing agreement with 20th Century Fox to add TV shows and movies to its Amazon Prime service. A similar agreement with CBS will add more than 2,000 full season episodes from 18 CBS shows.

Content on Fire will be backed up to Amazon’s Cloud Servers so users can delete things whenever they want to. You can always retrieve it later.

An interesting introduction was the Amazon Silk browser. Amazon hopes it will help make the mobile web browsing experience faster by using its Cloud based servers to help deliver content faster. The idea is that some of the loading of information is done away from your machine and simply delivered seamlessly when you call for it.




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