Amazon Silk: A New Mobile Browser

September 28, 2011

As you may have seen, Amazon announced their new lineup of Kindles today, from the $79 base version to the $199 Kindle Fire, a rival to Apple’s iPad. One thing that piqued my interest about the Kindle Fire is that it includes a new, custom Web browser, named Silk. Amazon posted an introduction to Silk, along with a six-minute video, on their site today, too. A lot on that page and in the video is marketing hype, but they raise some interesting points about the fact that Web browsers are fundamentally the same as they were 15 years ago, and aren’t ideal for today’s use, especially with all the mobile devices. Now the solution they came up with seems to be something akin to a reverse CDN: Whereas a CDN takes the load off of one server and shares it across a network of servers, Amazon Silk uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reduce the load on the device. From just what I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem like they’ve addressed a problem with browsers, but rather with the HTTP protocol, introducing their own gateway to improve the communications.┬áIt’ll be interesting to see what impact this new approach has, and how, if at all, it affects Web development in the years to come.

Oh, and it may be time for me to buy a new gizmo!