The Kindle Fire: An iPad Alternative at Less Than Half the Price?

Ever since the iPad was introduced, tech pundits and consumers have complained that it’s too expensive. And while there’s no shortage of other tablets out there, Amazon may have just announced Apple’s first real competitor in the market. Gizmodo, who are liveblogging today’s Amazon product announcements have the details on the Kindle Fire, a color tablet with a seven-inch screen that boasts better resolution than the iPad. It’s got wi-fi; is automatically updating; has eight gigs of memory; supports books, music, movies (which you can stream via Amazon Cloud), and apps; and comes pre-personalized for easy setup. Early reports also indicate that the Fire is super-fast, and Gizmodo notes, “This is a true cloud device, where your content lives on the web, and we already know that Amazon has that the cloud nailed.”

Of course, there are still a few iPad features that the Fire doesn’t have — a camera, a microphone, 3G access. But, at only $199, it costs a mere 40 percent of what an iPad 2 will run you. For those who tend to use their tablet mostly for reading and watching TV, the Fire seems like a great, cheap alternative. Let us know if you agree, and whether you plan to buy one when they’re available November 15th.