Amazon releases Kindle Fire

Email to a Friend

Today, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, a full-color tablet computer that streams movies, music and games. The company also introduced the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G e-book readers and an updated, and less expensive, traditional Kindle e-book reader.

The Kindle Fire is a multimedia tablet that has a 7-inch display and is based on Google’s Android operating system. Users can search websites, play interactive games, download e-books and stream movies and TV shows from Amazon Prime, which is the company’s multimedia streaming library.

The Kindle Fire includes Amazon Silk, which is a customized Web browser, and a top-down menu for easy access to mobile applications. The device features a cloud-based storage system that doesn’t require content to be synced up, unlike Apple’s iPad, Amazon says. Recently viewed items are stored in a taskbar for quick access.

The Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are e-book readers that have additional capabilities. Both models have a 7-inch display, an infrared touch system “that doesn’t get in the way of the display” and tap zones “that work for left- and right-handed people,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said during the announcement today.

Both Kindle Touch models include a feature that’s called X-ray, which allows users to tap on a word and pull up Wikipedia entries to learn more about a topic. When an e-book is downloaded on the Kindle Touch devices, a supplemental reference file also will be downloaded. The Kindle Touch 3G will have 3G telecommunications service and Wi-Fi without contracts or fees.

The Kindle Fire costs $199, the Kindle Touch is $99, and the Kindle Touch 3G is $149. All three devices can be preordered beginning today, and will be shipped Nov. 21.

The updated Kindle e-book reader costs $79 and is available immediately.

Check back with Nov. 1 for our comprehensive report on the tablet and e-book reader categories and Best Buy recommendations for both.