The Kindle Fire is dead. The almost eight-month-old tablet, which still runs on Android 2.3 by the way, was just thoroughly outclassed by Google. From today on, Amazon's $199 device will merely exist in our collective memories; it's a blueprint and an example of how to execute and introduce price-friendly alternatives, but nothing more. We're now looking toward the future. Meet the Nexus 7.
Google's tab is everything we were expecting: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Tegra 3, NFC (Android Beam), 1GB RAM, front-facing camera and up to 8 hours of battery, with 8GB and 16GB storage options. For something that comes in such a diminutive package, this thing is a beast. The Kindle Fire's price now seems exorbitant compared to the same $199 tag slapped on the Nexus 7, and I think it's safe to say Amazon's tablet offering has been utterly extinguished.
The price of admission alone is enough to persuade potential buyers, but it's what Google is offering alongside the device that really makes it a winner. The company emphasized the Nexus 7 was "built for Google Play;" the perfect way to consume and digest the over 600,000 apps and other accessible media (movies, books, TV shows, magazines). The Kindle Fire has its own offering, yes, but combined with the Fire's last-gen specs, it may as well be a ghost town (for now).
The main culprit behind or against the Nexus 7's success will be whether non-geeks can grasp what the device is all about. Amazon's image is already pristine in the public consciousness, and one of the things that the Fire managed to do really well was make Android unrecognizable. It separated itself as far away from Google as possible. Google's new device is running Android, of course, but a version that's more accessible than anything it has come out with before, putting the attention right back on the search giant's growing ecosystem.
Google's new device is a spec work horse, one that can stand toe to toe with some of today's best tablets without skipping a beat — iPad, Transformer Pad Infinity, etc. But more importantly, it offers a front row seat to one of the biggest digital media stores on the planet. Not only that, but it does so at a price point — 8GB for $199 and 16GB for $249 — that undercuts the new iPad by more than half, and completely destroys the Fire.
Folks, meet your next Android tablet, and say goodbye to the (current) Kindle Fire forever.