Amazon Kindle Fire Reaction: Experts' views

Amazon's 7-inch Android tablet given a November 15th release date and plenty of praise

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Amazon has official unveiled its 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet with the Android Honeycomb device to be released on November 15th with a $199 price tag. Here's what the experts think

With the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet now a thing of reality, T3 has asked some of the industry’s leading minds their views on the 7-inch cut-price iPad 2 challenger.

Officially unveiled earlier today ahead of a November 15th Kindle Fire release date, the Android powered tablet is to make use of the retailer’s expansive digital offerings gaining further kudos for its dual-core processor and cloud storage capabilities.

Amazon Kindle Fire Reaction: The experts’ opinions

Christopher Phin, Editor, Tap

“Only an idiot would suggest that the Fire will have no impact on future iPad sales, not least because Amazon is one of the few companies that can get the whole retail and aftercare experience as right as Apple does.

It’s conceivable though that comparatively (and that’s important) few people in the market for ‘a tablet device’ will pick a Fire over an iPad or an Android tablet, either because they’re broad consumers for whom the brand and word-of-mouth recommendations for the iPad will mean they opt for that – conceivably not even thinking of it as a ‘tablet’ – or because their status as an alpha geek or spec whore will mean they’ll view the Fire as ‘an underpowered Android tablet’.

But! Those who buy a Fire for any one of a hundred different reasons are unlikely then to buy an iPad any time soon – they have ‘a’ tablet, after all.

It is foolish these days, however, to bet against Apple, and the astonishing momentum iOS has both as a developer platform and as a vehicle for gorgeous hardware is likely to mean the iPad 2’s crown is safe for a while yet.

It’s trite, but it’s likely that the 'iPad 2 killer’ will be the iPad 3.”

Duncan Bell, Operations Editor, T3

“This seems like a winner. It'll be robust, it's very portable, Android is now well established in punters' minds as a tablet OS, Amazon has proven it can deliver content over the air with a similar level of slickness to Apple, and the price is absolutely right.

It's good to see Amazon has taken the advice of my T3 column last month and pitched it at a significantly lower cost than the iPad 2, rather than going down the failure-ensuring route of Samsung, Sony and HP of trying to go up against the runaway market leader at the same price.

There are only a few things that look a bit iffy: tabs this size haven't exactly set the world alight – see the PlayBook for details – and the "Amazon Silk" thing is a) initially incomprehensible and b) sounds like bollocks once you work out what they're claiming.

If Amazon can convince enough people that a smaller tablet is a better tablet, the Fire should sell like hot cakes. “

David Phelan, Gadgets Editor, Time Out

“The current Kindle is a great piece of kit and has two key features which the iPad can't beat: its light weight and its high-contrast, easy-to-read e-ink display. The joy of downloading a book instantly - wirelessly - on the beach and being able to read it through sunglasses will not transfer to this new device, sadly.

But, for sure, the Amazon Kindle Fire is the tablet everyone's been waiting for. Although the operating system on the HP Touchpad is spectacular, it wasn't enough to save it. Until BlackBerry updates its PlayBook it remains a niche product. Even Sony's gorgeous new Tablet S and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 are finding it hard to stand out. Android works best when it's heavily customised, as by HTC on its phones, so a bespoke version of the software is promising, too.

Amazon's wise to offer a smaller, more portable gadget with access to wide content. Plus, unlike every other tablet available, it's not being priced to match the iPad - which could be the killer difference. The key will be how closely Amazon integrates its ebook, MP3 and app stores into the product. If it does this well, it could really dent Apple's dominance. The online browser, called Silk, could be a game changer, with automatic resizing of files to save download time, and predicting what page you're going to want next.”

Matt Hill, Deputy Editor, T3

The Kindle Fire certainly looks to be Apple's first real rival. Cheap enough to be an impulse buy, and backed with Amazon's huge online retail presence, means it will definitely sell.

It is also the only company that can challenge Apple for a genuinely expansive content ecosystem of music, films and apps, so no fear of having nothing to play on it (hello HP TouchPad).

Creating a unique OS by reskinning Android is also genius, giving it access to all the existing apps yet simplifying the experience for the mainstream masses that frequent Amazon while also setting it apart from the tens of Android tablets that focus on exterior aesthetics yet are all the same on the inside.

The only concerns are that 7-inch tablets have had a lukewarm response so far, though the size makes more sense as a Kindle upgrade.

More opinions and reaction to follow...

What do you make of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet? Let us know via the comments box below