Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The iPad Comes Under Fire?

Since its release back in April of last year, the iPad has enjoyed a virtual stranglehold on the tablet computer market. Many would-be rivals have attempted to at least jostle the popular Apple-made device, nestled atop its perch. Thus far none have succeeded. The iPad has performed like a team on a winning streak that's carried over from last season, selling some 29 million units all in total. However as has been anticipated, Amazon has unveiled what analysts predict could be the iPads biggest competitor.

Enter the Kindle Fire.

While it had been predicted that the Kindle tablet would be available for cheap, previous estimations had it in the range of $250-300 dollars. However at the unveiling in New York on Wednesday, the Kindle Fire was introduced for the astronomically low price of $199, some three hundred dollars below even the most stock iPads and a whopping seven hundred bucks below the most tricked out models.

In addition to its attractive price, industry watchers say what will most appeal to consumers about the Kindle is the amount of filmed, literary and musical content users will be able to readily access through Amazon. But make no mistake, the Fire is far more than just a Kindle Reader with email. It's a fully-functional tablet computer that runs on the Android operating system and can do much of what an early model iPad is capable of. Not only that, but with it's seven inch screen, it's also half the size of the iPad.

However unlike many tablets nowadays, the Fire has no camera or microphone. Nor does it come equipped with a memory expansion slot. The Fire is capable of connecting to WiFi networks but not cellular networks unlike some iPads and many other Android tablets.

But one area in which the Fire will arguably be superior to the iPad is in its ability to read Flash. The iPads incompatibility with Flash has been one of the main criticisms leveled against the multimillion selling tablet.

So can the Kindle Fire really give the iPad a run for its money? Yes and no. Speaking to Associated Press, Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, considers the Fire the only credible competitor to the iPad.

Of course, in the same AP article, it was reported that analysts at Gartner Inc. predict that three out of four tablet computers sold this year would be iPads. So perhaps words like "credible" and "competitor" are all relative when it comes to the Apple iPad.

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