Apple has had the tablet computer market almost to itself. All the sales of all the competing tablets combined only add up to a fraction of the sales of the Apple iPad. At $500 or more per unit, the iPad is expensive but has still been (by far) the best-selling tablet computer in the world. Until now.
Amazon announced a 7-inch Kindle Fire yesterday. That's a smaller screen than the 10-inch iPad and many of the reviews in the press are saying the small size is a mistake. I disagree. To me, the 7-inch screen is much more practical than the larger iPad screen. I have a Barnes & Noble Nook with a 7-inch screen and love it. It is much better than the Apple iPad at slipping into an overcoat pocket or a lady's purse. In short, the smaller screen devices are much more practical to take with you.
However, the shocking news is the price: the new Kindle Fire will go on sale November 15 for $199. That's right, less than half the price of the iPad. To be sure, it only has 8 gigabytes of storage and it doesn't have a camera or a microphone, but that's a killer price. (Did you ever try to take a picture with an iPad 2? It's awkward to use.)
The Amazon Fire apparently is a powerful device with a dual-core CPU and cloud accelerated web browsing. It includes:
- 18 million available movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
- Amazon Appstore - thousands of popular apps and games
- Ultra-fast web browsing with the new Amazon Silk web browser
- Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
- Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle
- Fast, powerful dual-core processor
- Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows
- The battery lasts up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback
- Displays documents, pictures, videos, and plays music in Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8 formats.
- Supports all wi-fi networks (no 3G wireless support, however)
Not bad for a $199 computer weighing 14.6 ounces! I ordered mine today.
Other tablets have appeared in the marketplace and many of them have claimed to be an "iPad killer." To date, every one of them has floundered. Perhaps the Kindle Fire will become the first true "iPad killer."
There will be no genealogy applications available at launch. If the Kindle Fire becomes popular, I expect that genealogy apps and thousands of other apps will appear within a few months.
You can see the new Amazon Kindle Fire television commercial at http://www.i4u.com/47843/kindle-fire-tv-commericial-video
Perhaps the most confusing part of Amazon's announcement is the plethora of new models. Besides the Kindle Fire, Amazon unveiled a Kindle Touch priced at $99. The thing looks really easy to use. A Kindle Touch Wi-Fi + 3G for $149 is also available. But that is not all. Amazon hands out a hard blow at the low-end eBook makers with the new $79 Kindle. At $79 there is no question anymore not to buy a Kindle. Amazon dropped the keyboard making it smaller and lighter.
Whatever model you decide to purchase, the new Amazon devices should sell like wildfire. (Pun is deliberate)
You can read more about the Amazon Kindle Fire at http://goo.gl/mrcS3
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