Will you buy a Kindle Fire?

Amazon officially launches its new tablet today.

By Motley Fool Pick of the Day Nov 15, 2011 4:12PM
By Evan Niu


Today is the day. Amazon.com's (AMZN) Kindle Fire officially launches, even if shipments got a little bit of a head start.


The tablet market feels like it's an old friend, when in reality it's still incredibly nascent. Apple (AAPL) kicked off the iPad in April 2010, so we're just barely past the one-and-a-half-year mark. The Kindle Fire has garnered mixed early reviews, with some praising its compelling value proposition for its impulsively tempting $199 price tag. Some see it as a viable threat to the iPad, while others put it in a category of its own.


While Apple may always be the tablet leader, it can't hold on to a 75% market share forever, especially with how quickly the market is growing. Plus, Microsoft (MSFT) hasn't even entered the picture yet with its promising Windows 8 OS. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)


Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook Color has occupied the lower-end price spectrum for a while at $249, and the first-generation model is being bumped to $199 as its new Nook Tablet, which also runs Google (GOOG) Android, will hold down the $249 spot.


The tablets that have gone head-to-head with the iPad on price have fallen short, including the Motorola Mobility (MMI) Xoom and Research In Motion (RIMM) PlayBook. Apple has now sold a cumulative total of almost 40 million units since launch, while the Xoom has seen 790,000 shipments and only 700,000 PlayBooks have shipped.


Can Amazon succeed? The massive e-tailer has tricks up its sleeve that other non-Apple tablet makers can't match. While Apple even thinks the Kindle Fire will boost iPad sales due to continued fragmentation of the platform, Amazon has the capability to replicate Apple's integrated strategy.


Amazon has content down pat with Amazon Prime, which continues to grow, and MP3 store and cloud storage. It has its own Android Appstore and the Fire is sparking massive interest among developers. The Fire's forked version of Android is so unrecognizable that it's differentiated from its brethren. CEO Jeff Bezos has already said Amazon is building "millions more" of the devices.


Just about the only thing that the Fire doesn't have going for it is hardware. There has been talk that Amazon was in a time crunch to get the Fire out for the holiday shopping season, so it tapped Quanta as a shortcut, and it may have tapped iPad manufacturer Foxconn for the second generation. The second-generation hardware is rumored to have a 10-inch display and feature NVIDIA's (NVDA) quad-core Tegra 3.


The Kindle Fire is on track to receive a warm welcome to the tablet market, and be the best Android tablet out there to date.


Will the Kindle Fire truly be the best Android tablet so far? Are you buying one? Or are you waiting for the iPad 3? Let us know in the comments section below.


Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Nov 15, 2011 4:24PM
I just got mine today. After a couple hours I know I've got a new best friend. I will be spending more on Amazon, but I've already downloaded a dozen free books from Amazon already. Just go to kindle books on Amazon.com and select price low to high. You won't believe all the free titles. Especially the classics.
Nov 15, 2011 5:47PM
The Idea of having a cost effective alternative to lugging around my 17" Dell Lappy for general access to media and internet access is worth the cost of the Fire and amazon prime making it a must have item. Yep! gonna get one.
Nov 15, 2011 5:56PM
I LOVE MY KINDLE!!!!  And I'm ready to get a Kindle Fire.  Soon.  Real soon.
Yes I bought a Kindle Fire. Can't see paying over 400 hundred dollars for the IPAD. I have a Laptop and think the IPAD is over priced, plus looking at the Kindle Fire it will basically do the same thing. Kindle Fire FOR ME, is the way to go. I hope it catches fire and sales really go up. Apple needs serious competition.
Nov 15, 2011 8:56PM
I don't look at the Kindle Fire as a tablet.  It is just a high end reader.  It is missing several creative functions as taking pictures, movie, audio, etc.  You get what you pay for.  For the people who don't need more than it gives it is a great buy, but for me I'd rather have a tablet.
Nov 16, 2011 2:28PM
No, I am not going to buy a Kindle Fire. it's cheap -- that's why it's appealing to many people. But I want more than an upgraded reader. A powerful tablet can replace a laptop for most of the work and entertainment and communication I do, but can a Fire do this? No. 

Kindle Fire is good for short videos and streaming Youtube.  But seriously, who really wants to hold a 7-in screen to watch a 2-hr movie? You'll get your neck hurt. Put it on a desk? Yeah, but it's too small to see. Can you do real and serious editing with such a small screen? Once the keyboard pops up, you won't have much room to edit your docs. Plus, based on the reviews, it's really slow. 

On the other hand, if one only uses it for light entertainment, like browsing a web, read a book, play some fun games, read some emails, this is the best to go with. 
Nov 15, 2011 8:02PM
I'm not buying a Fire.  I'll get an iPad or wait for a 10 inch Windows OS 8 since I'd like  Flash and Silverlight.  Fire is great for what it is, I just want something more than an Amazon retail store portal. 
Nov 15, 2011 5:47PM
 I would love to get one, but just got the kindle last year and my husband would probably be pretty upset if I upgraded already.  (He thinks i spend too much time reading already)  I think I'll wait for gen 2, then it will have been longer since i got my first one, but i cant wait!!!!
Nov 15, 2011 6:00PM
I think I will wait until spring and see if there is an iPad price drop.
Nov 15, 2011 7:02PM
I bought one for a Christmas gift.  I have a I pad 2 and itouch, love them both.  Will be ready to compare the Kindle Fire...............The price is appealing so that is a good starting point
Nov 15, 2011 11:28PM
I agree with Rude.  The Fire is not a tablet..... just a glorified reader.  My plan is to buy a tablet when I can find one that works for me rather than having me change to accommodate it.  I'll need it to sync with and hold copies of my Google contacts, calendar and email, etc.  I need it to work with OneNote because I use that app extensively.  I don't want to change to Apple mail.  I don't want to use EverNote.  I just want it to work for me, not against me.  So far, that product doesn't exist. 

Nov 15, 2011 5:54PM
Not a chance. It's little more than a slick prototype which will be improved over time, remember the first Kindle? Wait till next year.
Nov 15, 2011 5:56PM
I agree with KPmusic, I will wait for gen 2 to come out.  I bought the gen2 of the Amazon Kindle and love it.  It seems like Amazon comes out with a newer and better version 6 - 8 months after the first version.  The Ipad may be faster, but at the price the Fire seems like a much better deal.
Nov 15, 2011 4:59PM

I'm still waiting for mine -- and jimndot's review is encouraging.

Nov 15, 2011 6:00PM
Nothing will take the place of holding a book in your hands and reading. Keep you Kindle, I'd rather have my books.
Nov 16, 2011 12:31PM

Save your money people!


Windows 8 is on the horizon and it's a step above and beyond the rest. If you truly want the power to collaborate and access your data in every way imaginable then you want Windows 8. Windows 8 is much more powerful than anything on the market today, couple that with the MS Cloud infrastructure and you have the ultimate business and multi-media tool. Apple and Google want to do this, but they can't! MS will make your dreams a reality! Windows 8...Windows 8....Windows 8!!


If you want a taste of this now get a Windows Phone 7.5 device! Office and Skydrive will help you organize your personal life and give you a powerful tool to conduct business.

Nov 15, 2011 6:47PM
I will not buy a Fire.  It weighs twice as much as the Kindle touch and has much lower battery life. 
Nov 15, 2011 5:24PM
I purchased two today as Christmas gifts. The Geek Squad @ Best Buy explained how they were going to work and gave me information about their Black Tie warranty. I am so excited about them, that I am thinking about buying myself one. The good news for me is, the two I bought as gifts qualify for the extended gift return at Best Buy, so if I need to, I can return after Christmas. That gives me piece of mind.
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