At its highly anticipated Kindle Fire launch, Amazon also took the wraps off its own browser, Amazon Silk, which relies both on the Kindle Fire end point and Amazon’s EC2 cloud to promise a much faster user experience.
What Amazon can bring to the party is its huge Amazon Web Services infrastructure to do the heavy lifting.
“The biggest differentiator for our browser is the fact that it’s split between what runs on your device and what runs in our cloud,” said Peter Vosshall, an Amazon distinguished engineer, on the video announcing Silk.
Silk also reads a user’s mind, anticipating from “aggregate usage data” what page someone is likely to click on next, and it starts the download accordingly.
Small tablet devices were not built to crunch massive numbers, but Amazon says if they are coupled with cloud-based services, things get interesting. “If you add the capabilities of our cloud services — EC2 instances with 68 gigs of RAM, 8 cores, just sitting on this massive optical network, you can take the work off and still get that great form factor and experience of the Kindle Fire but with all this power behind it,” said Brett Taylor, the principal product manager for Silk.
Not everyone is buying that the split browser technology is really unique to Amazon, however. Several commenters on Amazon’s YouTube announcement said that Opera has had similar capabilities for some time, although Opera doesn’t have a humongous Amazon-like backend infrastructure at its disposal.
Amazon Silk is available only for the Kindle Fire.