If you’ve not ventured into the $10 billion touchscreen tablet market yet, you’ve got a decision to make: will you go for the heavyweight Apple iPad … a full-featured contender like HP TouchPad or Motorola Xoom … or a lighter-weight media tablet like the smokin’ hot Kindle Fire from Amazon.com?
Amazon.com is betting you’ll choose Kindle Fire. Literally betting. Its $199 price tag is actually less than what it costs to make and distribute it. The goal, of course, is to sell more Amazon.com digital products — the Kindle is a delivery device. Using its built-in WiFi or free data service from AT&T (yes, free), you can instantly buy and download books, movies, TV shows, magazines, games and more. Plus surf the web and get apps from the Amazon Appstore.
Kindle Fire’s main competitors are Nooks from Barnes & Noble. There’s the $199 Nook Color, the $249 Nook Tablet (twice the RAM and storage as Kindle Fire plus other added features) and the $99 Nook Simple Touch e-ink reader. Kindle’s e-ink reader costs $79 and there are four other Kindle versions, two with actual keyboards. All of these devices let you download free books and borrow e-books from your public library, so if you don’t want to pay for anything except the tablet, you don’t have to.
So what do regular tablets offer that media tablets do not? Faster processing, bigger screen size (9.7-10.1 inches versus 7 inches), 3G in case you can’t find a WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, way more apps, camera for video chat, video out port, longer battery life, operating system elegance and more. But, of course, you’re going to pay for all that stuff.
So far Amazon.com is winning its bet: Kindle Fire has been the number one top seller on its website since it was introduced in early October. But want to see more tablet options? Hop on over to Amazon.com’s own tablet department and you’ll find literally hundreds to choose from.