The Amazon Kindle Fire (not the one in the picture) has dominated tablet sales on Amazon.com which at peak times transacts over 300 sales a second. It may be called a Kindle, but it is no longer an e-reader without a back lit screen. The Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7 inch and a 8.9 inch model, both are hi-res, full color, touch screen media tablets. Similar to Samsung, Nexus and iPad tablets the Amazon eco system lets you buy and watch video, listen to music, play games, download apps and of course - read eBooks.
The Kindle Fire range has Android under the covers. Amazon have taken the open source OS and added their own interface. Their interface provides deep integration with Amazon.com (instead of Google Play or iTunes on an iPad). Their link to their retail site goes as far to suggest films to buy, music to listen to and books to read. This built in advertising is subtle and does not get in the way of enjoying the device, however I personally found it a tad annoying be constantly advertised to. Amazon have built their own app store allowing Android developers to target the fire directly. Browsing the store is easy and all the mainstream apps I was interested in such as skype, evernote, twitter and angrybirds were all present. The device is very well priced, as low as £130, which makes it great value. Sales figures of the device are not currently published by Amazon.
While the consumer has plenty of reasons to pay attention to the Kindle Fire, I feel it deserves particular attention because of the browser Amazon have added to it know as Silk. As with all browsers it has its own behaviours that developers must be aware of and test for. Perhaps most important is testing the Silk server side caching which can impact site logic, particularly those heavy in Ajax. As popularity grows, it will be worthwhile speaking with your website vendor to ensure they are testing on a Kindle Fire.
I have used the 7 inch version quite a bit. The performance and user experience is good enough when you consider the price tag. Its not as quick as my iPad but it is a third of the investment. I did suffer a few difficulties with a few mainstream websites that had not been tested on the device. The battery life is better than my iPad.
I use the device mainly for consuming media - reading, news, video. It feels underpowered for note taking, game playing and other more aggressive use.
My core reason for blogging about the Kindle HD is to raise awareness that targeting mobile web needs to include tablet. I wanted you to remember there are tablets that dont carry an Apply logo that sell well. This topic will be continued when I look into the trend of tablets getting smaller and smartphones getting bigger!