Unlike a wave of other tablets that have emerged hopefully only to flop, such as the HP TouchPad, the Motorola Xoom, and the RIM PlayBook, the Kindle Fire has a good shot at turning the newest theater of war in high-tech into a two-tablet battle. With a 7-inch display, the Fire is about half the size of the iPad.
At $199, it’s also less than half the price of the cheapest Apple model. Amazon has painted over the rough surfaces of Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system with a fresh and easy-to-use interface and tied the device closely to its own large and growing content library. Kindle Fire owners can watch the film Rio, scroll through magazines such as The New Yorker or Esquire, and access their music collection on Amazon’s servers.