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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Kindle Fire revealed

The wait is over. Amazon has finally announced its highly rumored tablet PC, called the Kindle Fire, which is to be released just in time for Christmas at under $200.

So, what about all the hype? Is it an iPad killer? Probably not.  Is it a great deal? No doubt about it.

It’s hard to call a product with stripped-down features such as the Fire an iPad killer, but I don’t think that’s what Amazon is going for here.
Instead of competing directly with Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s strategy is to create a lower-priced tier of tablet PCs and dominate that market. And their strategy might work.

The Kindle Fire has several great features, but it’s also missing many features that are now standard on the iPad 2, such as 3G, cameras, GPS, Bluetooth and a large storage capacity.

The screen is also much smaller at 7 inches, compared with Apple’s 10 inches.

Another disappointment is the lack of Amazon Prime. Before the announcement, it was highly rumored that a purchase of the Kindle Fire would come with a one-year subscription to Amazon’s premier Prime service, which gives subscribers free, two-day shipping, $3.99 one-day shipping and access to Amazon’s ever-growing library of online TV and movie streaming content.

The service is $79 a year and would have made the $199 absolutely unbeatable.

Still, what the tablet lacks in features, it more than makes up for in price. At $199, the Kindle Fire will sell like the proverbial hot cake. And the reported 1GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of storage will be enough to give tablet junkies their fix.

And although it probably won’t be the iPad killer everyone was predicting, the interesting thing to watch will be how the non-Apple tablet makers — Barnes & Noble, Acer, Samsung — will respond.