The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s answer to Apple’s iPad tablet computer. Unlike the E-ink Kindle, which is designed for reading text-based media like books, newspapers and some blogs, the Fire is aimed at helping people consume TV programmes, movies and music.
Essentially based on Google’s Android operating system, but modified so that it is unrecognisable from the search giant’s mobile phone software, the Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen and can only play content that has been purchased from Amazon’s online store. There are also thousands of apps and games available for the device.
Members of Amazon Prime, the company’s premium (paid-for) membership programme that was established to offer faster delivery, can also enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over popular movies and TV shows. Books can also be borrowed for free from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
In September 2012, Amazon announced that a new collection of Kindle Fires would be released in the UK for the first time. The two models, which include a 7-inch screen Kindle Fire HD (high definition), £159, and an improved Kindle Fire, £129, will go on sale in October.
Previously, the Kindle Fire had only been available in the US.
As with Apple’s iCloud, the Fire uses cloud storage for content purchased for the device. This basically means that you access your content via wireless internet connection instead of it being stored on the device’s hard drive. This keeps the cost of the device down, and means you no longer need to worry about running out of space to save your favourite movies, TV shows, apps and music.
The Fire’s internet browser is also powered by cloud technology, which essentially means that it uses the power of Amazon’s network of computers to help speed up your web surfing.