What Kindle Fire Means For Games Developers ?

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Kindle Fire was just released before Oct. in New York. Amazon unveiled its first hardware contender to the Android Games market.

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Updated:October 15th, 2011


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Kindle Fire with Android OS was just released before Oct. in New York.   Obviously,  Amazon didn’t just introduce an update to its e-reader line — it also unveiled its first real hardware contender to the Android Games market.

The new Kindle Fire makes a deliberate move at being more of a multimedia device, with improved music features, the ability to watch videos, play Android Games and, of course, read books and magazines in color. All of these features are facilitated by a 7-inch color multi-touch LCD screen, 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4 CPU, wi-fi capabilities and access to the Amazon Appstore.

As we all know,  the most obvious advantage that the new Kindle Fire will have over its competitors is the price tag. At $199, it beats Barnes & Noble’s Android-based, $249 Nook Color (which incidentally, also has Angry Birds), and easily beats the price of the more feature-rich Apple iPad 2, which starts at $499.

A price that low makes the current, reasonably-priced monochrome Kindles look downright overpriced, never mind the newly-announced base $79 budget Kindle. Combine Amazon’s promotional power (the retailer is already throwing the device in the face of every Amazon.com visitor), that nice price tag, plus a shipping date (November 15) just before the Black Friday shopping rush this year, and there’s a potential to put this Android device in a lot of hands.

And big installed bases are always good for an Android Games developer looking to reach a wide audience.  IDC has earlier this year estimated that Kindle models accounted for nearly half of the 12.8 million e-reader shipments worldwide in 2010, leading the category.

If Android Games developers eventually find the install base appealing enough, they can port their Android Games over to the the Android-based device, and sell it on Amazon’s Appstore for Android Games Download, whose game offerings are lacking in comparison to the older, gargantuan Apple App Store. (We won’t go too deep into Amazon’s controversial pricing practices.)

Downloadable gaming aside, being an Android-based device, Amazon confirmed the Kindle Fire and its fancy Amazon Silk “cloud-accelerated” browser will support Adobe’s Flash player, which gives Android Games developers another potential venue for web games. And no, iPad still does not support Flash.

But the device also poses some disadvantages for game developers. The low price sacrifices features that Android games players have come to expect from their hardware, such as 3G support (yes, it’s not even quite mobile — yet) to download a game “anywhere,” no gyroscopic sensors (sorry Doodle Jump/racing game fans), no mic and no camera (ARG!, are you serious?!).

Luckily, the 7-inch, 1024×600 screen is multi-touch (even though it is smaller than an iPad 2′s 9.7″ screen) and the Fire comes packed with a dual core processor that will be able to do more than puzzle and hidden object games.

Will the Kindle Fire be a sure bet for Android Games developers? Nothing is — just look at the Nook Color, another cheaper-than-an-iPad Android-based e-reader, and its lacking game offerings. But the power of Amazon’s publicity, low price and a healthy installed base could beckon games developers to test out Kindle Fire’s clear blue waters down the line.



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  1. Luca says:

    I have a Kindle, Nook & Sony. I like the Kindle much better than the other two. I deitfinely buy and read more books on the Kindle vs print books, due to price and ease of getting them. Example: 11:30 p.m., finish book one with a cliff-hanger. In less than a minute, I can start book 2 to see what happens. If I’m reading print, I have to wait till the next day—and I may or may not make it to the store or library right away. In fact, I may forget I want book 2 before I get around to buying it.

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