The Kindle Fire tablet computer from Amazon, the much look forward to challenge to iPad, became available in the U.S. on Monday, one day ahead of schedule. The new Kindle is approximately half the size and at $199 more than the price of iPad which retails for $499. The new Fire is much more than an e-book reader; it connects to the Web, streams movies and TV, displays comic books and supports a multitude of apps, which includes ones for Hulu and Netflix, plus emailing and game playing.
Users wont be able to use cellular networks on the Fire has they have been able to do on some of the monochrome Kindle models, but they will be able to accesses the Internet through Wi-Fi.
Barnes & Noble Inc.’s $249 Nook Tablet goes on sale Friday, also a direct competitor in time for the Christmas market, but still higher in price at $249. In creating a challenge to the iPad, Amazon.com Inc. is building on the expectation of succeeding where other businesses have been unsuccessful because the Fire is designed to easily tap into the company’s enormous storehouse of media content. Amazon sells over 1 million e-books, 100,000 movies and television shows, and 17 million songs.
Amazon has not publicised the number of Kindles it has sold, but CEO Jeff Bezos has said that advance orders for the Fire are so high that Amazon is manufacturing “millions more” than first anticipated. Amazon has more Kindle models in the pipeline; the Kindle Touch retailing for $99, which has a monochrome, touch-sensitive screen and is designed only for reading, is available from Tuesday, six days earlier than expected.