A first look at Amazon Kindle Fire's unique UI, cloud-accelerated Silk browser

A first look at Amazon Kindle Fire's unique UI, cloud-accelerated Silk browser
The Amazon Kindle Fire arrived with a splash in the form of industry daring $199 price tag. And by industry, we mean mostly the iPad, but there’s something else special about this 7-inch tablet and it’s the unique user interface. The Amazon Kindle Fire is built based on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, but you wouldn’t say it from its looks. The UI has undergone a complete overhaul and while Amazon has introduced some limitations to the platform, it has included what looks like a very speedy browser, named Silk.

Looking at the home screen of the interface first, you’re basically facing a bookshelf. It contains all your most recently accessed content and you can flick around it, which looks like a fun way to handle multitasking. Above the upper shelf, there are a couple of categories, which quickly filter the content you have, so you can see your: books, music, videos, docs and the web. There’s also an “apps” tab, which lists all your applications. While we’re at the topic, we should also mention that the Kindle Fire supports the Amazon Appstore, which might not be as rich as Google’s Android Market, but definitely has some essential apps.

For music, you have a music player, which allows quick acccess to Amazon’s music service and the same goes for movies. And that’s one area where you’d notice Android leftovers as pulling down from the top of the tablet brings the Android drop down, so you can easily control music playback while you read for example.

There are more shelves to the bottom of the main screen, acting like stacks for your favorite applications, so you can easily access them, but overall no resemblance whatsoever to classic Android looks.

When it comes to the browser, the Amazon Kindle Fire features the Silk browser, which is cloud-accelerated. Amazon refers to the design as “split” as some of the content is pushed to its servers for faster processing. It’s supposed to be noticeably faster than the competition and one way to achieve this is through downsizing large images. With Amazon Web Services the browser is exchanging information with latency of only 5ms, which further boosts loading speeds.

Processing content on the cloud, allows the browser to make use of a form of collective knowledge, so that while other browsers must wait to receive an HTML version of a webpage before loading other elements, the Silk browser in often cases would have often loaded it already. So with a neat combination of a polished UI and speedy browser, what are your thoughts about the Amazon Kindle Fire? Will it manage to be the first tablet to truly rival and undercut the iPad?

Related phones

Kindle Fire
  • Display 7.0 inches
    600 x 1024 pixels
  • Hardware TI OMAP4, 0.5GB RAM
  • Storage 8GB,
  • OS Android 2.3



18. Fat Papi unregistered

I believe that the new Amazon (Kindle Fire) is just glorified Barnes and Noble (Nook)

17. Gamma Sharma unregistered

Its not the price of the device/ hardware that's profitable (which can be copied by any Chinese me too version) but the price of the Amazon service that really gonna be the selling point of this Cloud service. Apple will soon follow suit with a more affordable devise backed with its cloud computing. Only wish office documents can be edited with the device and not to mention a video calling hardware and software services were available too.

16. Beltway Bill unregistered

Its a Amazon... Nook Color. The biggest limitation user will find is the same. No audio input or mic if you want to Skype or chat voice.

14. WirelessCon

Posts: 311; Member since: May 11, 2010

It's innovative. It's has the possibility of being a game changer. Does the browser support most security formats? Can I pay bills with it? If I can pay bills and buy products from websites other than Amazon, then maybe the laptop can mostly be ignored. How do I upload 350 GB of music to Amazon's cloud? Because I want access to all of my media all of the time. Since my data will be throttled every month, how does Amazon account for browser speed under such circumstances? In a world of throttled and capped data, the cloud is not a viable option.

13. specsmobile.in

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 28, 2011


11. playman unregistered

Seeing most of 7" android Tablet/MID Manufacture to price around US$150-250, I really hope that this price would mark the era of the explosive growth for 7" devices. PS: no wonder sale of RIM playbook were not good. It's too expensive for 7" MID. I wonder how much damage have RIM done @ 300.

7. droidguy2323

Posts: 55; Member since: Sep 23, 2011

This is great .$200 for a 7" tablet. There really is not reason to spend $400-500 on any other tablet except an ipad. Samsung,Htc , and others are gonna be screwed once this drops

5. Epitome of Perfection unregistered

A tablet that got watered down to half the function and half the power of some of the top tablets on the market right now, for just $200? It's a good deal if you're not demanding for other excessive functionalities. I doubt Kindle Fire would still get slammed for rather short specs sheet.

10. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

its meant as an ereader with web capability first and foremost. its not in the same market as say an ipad or a galaxy Tab. Most of what people use these things for is media, browsing, and games. It has enough horsepower to get all the media functions done.

4. SoyCider

Posts: 18; Member since: Sep 28, 2011

darn I bought Kindle only 2 months ago for $130 :s

2. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

for 200 dollars you cant complain...never really ever cared for a tablet...think anymore than 300 is too much for something that is esentially just a big phone with no radios...if this does come to the UK for less than £200 pound i might just get one.....

6. rkhi unregistered

I completely agree with taz89 : at £400, it is hard to justify buying an iPad or tablet which is convenient but hardly necessary (when you have a decent smartphone & a laptop); at £200 or less, it becomes an almost impulse purchase & Amazon will break into a new 'class' of customer with this product...and it might just bring down the price of competitors products.

12. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I agree with you on the price thing but to say there just a big version of a phone is kinda misleading. Because size of the screen is a huge difference. That's like saying a 15 inch television is pretty much the same as a 46 inch LCD or led hd tv. The size of the screen means a huge difference in user experience for all kinds of things. Games are a big example of a different experience. I play a lot of find it somewhere in the scene mystery games and to say it's better on my iPad is an understatement. Same with reading a book, or watching a movie. I here this a lot and although true it's just a bigger version of a phone it's a huge difference in the big picture. Pun intended

1. E. Ash unregistered

As a long-time user of Opera Mini on my phone, the Silk browser doesn't get me that excited. I've been using a cloud-streamed, accelerated, low-bandwidth browser for over a year. I don't like that Amazon is locking the tablet down as much as they are (not that Cyanogen won't fix that, hopefully enabling the Android Market, too). My biggest hope for this is to see drops in the outrageous prices of the Tab 8.9 and other competing sub-10 tablets. This could be the price break that starts a big price shift, and that excites me.

3. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

totally agree,hopefully this sells out quckly that other tablet makers have to bring there price down...this is good news for the consumers

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

im with ya on that. I hope this thing is massively successful so that way it deflates the pricing of tablets across the board.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless