Amazon’s much-anticipated challenge to the iPad began Monday as the Kindle Fire tablet computer became available in the U.S.
The Fire is about half the size of the iPad and is less than half the price. Amazon is offering the Kindle Fire for $199. The bare-bones iPad sells for $499, the most expensive for $829.
With the Fire, the Kindle becomes much more than an e-book reader. The Fire connects to the Web, streams movies and TV, displays comic books and supports thousands of apps, including ones for Hulu and Netflix. It does email, and you can play games on it.
Amazon.com is widely expected to unveil its Android-based Kindle tablet. Already, silly bloggers are suggesting this could be the iPad-killer. You remember the iPad-killer, right? First it was the Dell Streak, then the HP Slate 500, then the LG Optimus, then the JooJoo (aka “CrunchPad”), then the Motorola Mobility Xoom, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (admittedly the first to register with the market in terms of sales to customers and get good reviews), then the Acer Iconia, then the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, and most recently the HP TouchPad. I’m sure I missed a few!
So when you see anyone claim “iPad-killer,” move on. Certainly, at some point Android tablets will become competitive to the iPad. But even when they do, the Amazon Kindle tablet won’t be part of the iPad’s competitive landscape.