This afternoon Amazon unveiled a host of new Kindle’s to a flurry of Internet buzz and activity. Ranging from bargain $79 Kindle and $99 Kindle Touch to the disruptive $199 Kindle Fire.
The Kindle has been hugely successful for Amazon and while a new device was expected today, I don’t think anyone expect this much news. But the really important news here is the Kindle Fire. The device is basically a tablet running Android with its own user interface. The good part is that it makes use of Amazons enormous cloud computing capabilities and Amazon EC2. The Fire may not be as powerful as the iPad and its hardware may be severely lacking but, if reports are true, then that will be made up with by the amount of computing power that can be done in the cloud.
The result means that regular pages are cached and any hard processing such as Flash and images are all pre-rendered before hitting the Fire giving the user a much smoother experience with the hardware available and this is exactly what Amazon are pushing; Service rather than hardware.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a replacement for the iPad and it’s not a better tablet that the iPad. But then, does the average user actually make the most of the hardware in the iPad? Is it needed? Probably not. What I really like about this announcement from Amazon today is that it means we, the consumers, are finally starting to see some real benefit from cloud computing. The whole concept is still in its infancy when it comes to the masses and Amazon has been heavily building up the cloud presence. This device will now give something to test and see how well it will work in some real world tests.