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Amazon's Kindle Fire media tablet ahead of the device's Tuesday ship date and the consensus is that it's a solid alternative to the iPad for some environments.
The Amazon Kindle Fire comes in that box, with a nod to Amazon's signature brown-cardboard packaging and a splash of color.

The Kindle Fire packaging is also impressively eco-friendly, using what appears to be unbleached cardboard wherever possible and relatively little extra space in the box.

Keeping things low cost, the Kindle Fire doesn't come with many accessories—not even a paper manual, just a little cardboard "getting started" card. Inside the box there's a tablet, the card, a standard MicroUSB power adapter, and ... that's it.

This is a cloud-based device, and all of the goodies you load onto it will come from the cloud. (A case, on the other hand, will clearly be extra.)  The Kindle Fire runs a customized version of Android on a dual-core, 1-GHz TI OMAP4 processor.

So, yes, it's fast. It's primarily designed to read books, play music, and show video, and it hooks closely into Amazon's ecosystem, with your Cloud Drive music, Amazon video and apps from the Amazon Appstore appearing automatically on the device.

Its major competitor is the as-yet-unlaunched Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, which adds an SD card slot and more memory, but costs $50 more and doesn't have quite as seamless an ecosystem as the Kindle Fire does. We'll have a full review of that tablet soon. For now, here's a feature/spec comparison.

Take a look at the Kindle Fire unboxing slideshow to check out what you'll get for your $199. For a deeper dive, check out our Kindle Fire .

he consensus appears to be that the Fire feels like a solid device when you hold it in your hands, and its weight may surprise you. The Fire weighs 0.91 pounds, versus the iPad's 1.33-pound heft. Despite the relatively modest difference in weight, most reviewers found it considerably easier to hold the Fire for several hours of reading compared to the iPad.

Any discussion of the Fire's hardware seems to reference its resemblance to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Reviews almost universally see shades of the PlayBook in the Fire, but the PlayBook is noticeably larger and control buttons are placed differently.

surprise to find out that Amazon makes it easy to purchase new books, movies, magazines, and apps on the Fire. Engadget warns that the Fire's shopping experience may be "too easy for those whose buying impulses outweigh their budget-keeping abilities."
Perhaps so, but Verge says Amazon's shopping experience on the fire is "better and more elegantly  than anyone else," including Apple's iPad.
The Fire comes with only 8GB of storage while the base models for Barnes & Noble's forthcoming Nook Tablet and the iPad come with 16GB.

Estimated to cost $201.70 to make - but sells for $199 

Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet device that started shipping this week is reportedly selling for almost three dollars less than it costs to manufacture.
The online retailer is initially selling the tablet at a loss that it hopes to cover through sales of books and films for the device, research suggests.
The Kindle Fire costs $201.70 to make, research firm IHS said, but it has attracted a warm industry reception after being priced at only $199.
Manufacturing costs of new gadgets usually come down as chips become cheaper, so Amazon should eventually make a profit at the same price.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in September that the company's goal was to make a small profit from the hardware.
But he added that as a retail company, Amazon was willing to live with a smaller margin than most electronics companies would.
‘We want the hardware device to be profitable and the content to be profitable,' he said. 'We really don't want to subsidise one with the other.'
IHS's estimate includes the cost of components and assembly, but not the costs of development, marketing or packaging.


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