The Kindle Fire is a mini tablet computer version of Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book reader. Announced on September 28, 2011, the Kindle Fire has a color 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS technology and runs a custom version of Google’s Android operating system. The device—which includes access to the Amazon Appstore, streaming movies and TV shows, and Kindle’s e-books—was released to consumers in the United States on November 15, 2011. On September 7, 2012, upgrades to the device were announced with consumer availability to those European countries with a localized version of Amazon’s website (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).
The Kindle Fire’s external dimensions are 7.5 × 4.7 × 0.45 inches (190 × 120 × 11 mm). The visible area of the screen is 6 × 3.5 inches (150 × 89 mm). The Kindle Fire originally retailed for US$199. Estimates of the device’s initial bill of materials ranged from $150 to $201.70. Amazon’s business strategy is to make money through sales of digital content on the Fire, rather than through the device itself.
On September 6, 2012, the Kindle Fire price was reduced to $159, RAM upgraded to 1 GB and processor clock speed upgraded to 1.2 GHz. A more powerful and video-friendly version, the Kindle Fire HD (7 and 8.9 inch versions) were also made available, initially priced at $199 and $299.
On September 25, 2013, the new Kindle Fire HD (7 inch), priced at $139, and the Kindle Fire HDX were introduced. The Kindle Fire HDX has a new graphics engine, double the memory, and triple the processor speed of the previous model. The 7-inch and 8.99-inch versions were introduced at $229 and $379 respectively.
As of May 2013, the Kindle Fire is the second-best-selling tablet after Apple’s iPad, with about 7 million units sold according to estimates by Forrester Research.