Sunday, October 2, 2011

Playing with 'Fire,' Amazon joins competitive tablet market

Amazon has jumped into the crowded and challenging tablet computer market with four new Kindles, and the prices will raise your eyebrows.

I was expecting something around $250 for Amazon's new tablet, but $200 for the Kindle Fire, the new top-of-the-line model, is quite impressive.

These new Kindles will be affordable for a lot of people who didn't have or didn't want to pay $500-plus for a tablet computer.

There are a few other less popular tablets for around $200, such as the Vizio, and the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi, introduced in late 2010, is now going for around $200 with a two-year data contract.

But I doubt these devices are going to attract the attention Amazon is getting with its latest Kindle lineup.

So let's get rocking, and as we go in the holiday shopping season for tablets and e-readers, the competition will be between the Kindles, Android devices and you know who - the mighty iPad.

Probably no iPad killer

The talk has already started about whether the Kindle Fire will be an iPad killer.

I don't think it will be, as the iPad has been on the market since April 2010 and is now in its second generation, which was released in March.

According to Apple, more than 15 million iPads have been sold, and Apple fans already are anticipating the iPad 3.

There are more than 350,000 apps available, and more than 65,000 are optimized for the iPad. The iPad has a sizable lead over all its tablet competitors, and I doubt that will change anytime soon.

But these latest Kindles are here to compete with prices like $79 for the smallest and lightest model, $99 for the Kindle Touch Wi-Fi (one of Amazon's first touchscreens) and $149 for the 3G model.

Then we have the Kindle Fire, which is probably the closest model to being a competitor to the iPad.

While there is not that much to wow you with the hardware, I think the Kindle Fire is aiming at being a digital content device and Amazon has plenty to offer.

According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire's 7-inch touchscreen will have access to more than 100,000 movies and TV shows, more than 17,000 songs and, of course, more than one million books. Once you throw in digital magazines, newspapers and games, there is lot of digital content available for consumption.|newswell|text|Home|s