The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

The price is great, but the Amazon Kindle Fire is more of a second-generation Barnes & Nobles Nook knock-off than a major Android tablet release, never mind being an iPad killer.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

This? This is what all the excitement about? Don't get me wrong. The just unveiled Amazon Kindle Fire is a fine low-end Android Linux-based e-reader/tablet, but it's not a major Android tablet and it's certainly no iPad killer.

While waiting to get my hands on one-come on Amazon, you've shipped enough books to my place to know my address by heart-I already know enough to know what the Kindle Fire is and isn't. First, it's not a full-powered tablet. If you want a full-sized tablet with Android under the hood I recommend you give the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 a try.

It is, however a nice media consumer device. When I look at the Kindle Fire, I don't see so much a tablet as the next generation of the e-reader. Instead of just e-books, the Kindle Fire will let you watch movies, off Amazon Prime's newly enlarged video library, listen to music, and get just enough of the Web, with its new Silk Web browser, that you can use it for some basic Web browsing.

Put it all together, and I see Amazon's next generation competitor for Barnes & Nobles Nook Color much more so than I do a full-powered tablet. Of course, with a price-tag of $199, it could be very popular.

At the same time, I wouldn't whip out my credit-card to order one just yet. After all, there's rumors afoot that this is a "stopgap" Kindle tablet being shoved out the door just in time for the holidays. I could see that. In addition, Barnes & Nobles will soon be releasing its holiday season update of the Nook Color 2.

As it stands now, the dual-core powered, Android-powered Amazon Kindle, with its 7-inch color display looks to define a halfway spot between full-powered tablets and e-readers. I strongly suspect the Nook Color 2 will soon try to occupy the same sweet spot.

What I think is more interesting in the short run though is Amazon's new line-up of e-readers. With prices starting at $79, brand-name e-readers have never been cheaper. Writers, readers, and publishers have long been debating just how quickly we're all going to be turning to e-books. I know the answer now. With prices like these, it will be even faster than we'd ever imagined.

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