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Sep 28 / Dan DeFelippi

Amazon Silk – The New Cloud-Accelerated Browser

Today Amazon announced a new tablet, the Kindle Fire. Along with this announcement they revealed a new browser, Amazon Silk.

All of the browser subsystems are present on your Kindle Fire as well as on the AWS cloud computing platform.  Each time you load a web page, Silk makes a dynamic decision about which of these subsystems will run locally and which will execute remotely.  In short, Amazon Silk extends the boundaries of the browser, coupling the capabilities and interactivity of your local device with the massive computing power, memory, and network connectivity of our cloud.

I’ve seen speculation that this will be like Opera Mini, with server-side page rendering which significantly improves performance at the cost of crippling interactive sites that use JS. The way I read into it is that it’s more likely Amazon Silk will function more like an optimization proxy, combining and minifying files, caching static files on Amazon’s services, and possibly using SPDY for delivery. If done well this could be a great service, speeding up mobile browsing without impacting functionality.

I have high hopes for Silk. Amazon has gotten very serious about web performance in the past few years. So long as they don’t cripple sites, which I think is unlikely, this could be a very successful browser.

Edit: Amazon released a basic Silk FAQ. Looks like it will support Flash, SSL, and won’t cripple sites.