Will the Kindle Fire dethrone the iPad?

Amazon's eagerly awaited new tablet boasts a color touchscreen and costs less than half as much as the cheapest Apple offering

For the average consumer, the cheaper Kindle Fire appears to offer nearly everything the iPad offers, which could mean serious sales competition for Apple.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, MONICA M. DAVEY/epa/Corbis)

Since the iPad was introduced in the spring of 2010, many tablet makers have tried — and largely failed — to challenge Apple's dominance. On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled the latest iPad challenger, the long-awaited Kindle tablet. The Kindle Fire will retail for just $199 (the iPad starts at $499), has a color touchscreen, boasts the ability to run a number of Android apps, and will seamlessly integrate with Amazon's vast library of e-books, music, movies, and television. Has the iPad finally met its match?

Kindle Fire will definitely hurt iPad sales: "For the average brand-conscious, non-geek consumer, the $200 Amazon Kindle Fire can do just about everything the $500 WiFi-only iPad can do, except take a picture," says Jason Gilbert at The Huffington Post. Sure, the Fire lacks large storage options, a camera, and a built-in email client. Yes, it has a smaller screen. But it's cheap, it's functional, and it has its own "cool" factor.

"What Kindle Fire means For iPad: Can the Amazon tablet take down Apple's leader? "

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The iPad is safe. But the Nook should watch out: I don't think the Fire "is our long-awaited iPad killer," but it's "definitely... a Nook killer," says Erika Morphy at Forbes. With its limited multimedia capabilities and 7-inch screen, the Fire can't match the iPad (and its 10-inch screen), but it's a better option than the Nook for those who want a cheap device with a touch interface, some multimedia, and a color screen. Expect "a price and content war" between Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"It's not an iPad killer, it's a race to the bottom for e-readers"

Either way, give credit to Jeff Bezos' sales pitch and vision: Watching the Amazon CEO present the new Kindle Fire, it was "pretty clear that he's our next Steve Jobs," says Mat Honan at Gizmodo. Bezos was "stylish and witty," passionate, and well-rehearsed. As with Apple and Jobs before his retirement, it's clear that Amazon's business is the product of Bezos' vision. Like the Apple founder, Bezos is also "delightfully willing to take risks." With the Kindle, he "didn't wait for the ebook market to explode, he created it." Expect more great things from him.

"Jeff Bezos is the new Steve Jobs"

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