Tuesday, November 15 saw the addition of the Kindle Fire tablet computer to a marketplace that has been dominated by Apple’s iPad. Apple popularized the tablet computer with the release of the iPad in 2010, despite the fact that Microsoft released the Microsoft Tablet PC almost eight years prior. Since the release of the iPad, major manufacturers like Sony, Motorola, and Acer have produced tablet computers, though as of October 2011, Apple retained 67% of the world’s tablet market share based on sales. The Kindle Fire is Amazon.com’s offering to the tablet computer market and for those who have been pleased with the Kindle, the Kindle Fire is likely to make a great upgrade.
The Kindle Fire is instantly inviting with a sticker price of $199, in comparison to the baseline iPad 2 at $499, making it an affordable option as the holiday season arrives. The Kindle Fire is over a third of a pound lighter than the iPad 2 and that can make a difference as the key element for tablet computers is portability. With changing weight restrictions on planes, even a quarter pound can make a difference.
Designed for the book-reading crowd that made the Kindle popular, the Kindle Fire offers a color screen and the ability to play music and movies as well as the Kindle-formatted digital books. Side by side with other Kindle products, the Kindle Fire is visually a shocker; the full-color screen erupts with a vibrancy that is likely to make Kindle users want to upgrade from the standard Kindle. The Kindle Fire reminds users of the first time they experienced the printing leap from dot matrix to color laser printing. The transformation of media is vivid, though it is hard to imagine why scholarly young people for whom reading became cool on the Kindle would need the Kindle Fire if not to abandon that pursuit in favor of the movies, television shows and music videos that the Kindle Fire suddenly opens up to users.
The main advantage the iPad 2 has over the Kindle Fire is in the memory department. The Kindle Fire has 8 GB of memory, of which only 6 GB is available for user content. While that represents, according to Amazon, enough space for 80 apps plus six thousand books, it is only space for ten movies. The saving grace for the Kindle Fire’s lighter storage capacity comes in the way the Kindle Fire uses it. Because Amazon content may be stored off-device with the Cloud technology, the Kindle Fire may become a valuable tool to access a library that is vastly larger than the tablet device itself.
In short, the Kindle Fire is prepared to transform the market Amazon popularized with the Kindle, usurping Apple’s app-based iPad with a media-focused tablet that encourages users to do more than just read.
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