Amazon Kindle Fire: Device Shipped Early, Met With Great Reviews

Does Amazon's Tablet Stand Up Against Apple's iPad and Barnes & Noble's Nook?

Amazon's Kindle Fire has shipped a day early amid rave reviews from tech companies praising Amazon’s answer to Apple's iPad.

The Kindle Touch and Touch 3G are slated to be shipped Tuesday, nearly one week ahead of schedule, according to reports.

The Kindle Fire is being heralded as a bargain, retailing for $199 on Amazon’s Website.

"When most tablets cost $500, a $200 tablet is rather a big deal," David Pogue wrote in a New York Times review of the tablet.

But Pogue cautions a direct comparison between the Kindle Fire and the iPad.

"It is designed almost exclusively for consuming stuff, particularly material you buy from Amazon, like books, newspapers and video," Pogue wrote.

It also lacks a camera, microphone, GPS functions, Bluetooth and other features found on the iPad, according to a New York Times review.

But the Kindle Fire's main selling point, aside from the price, may be its size.

The Fire's compact size certainly makes it easier to physically handle than an iPad," Andy Ihnatko wrote in a Chicago Sun-Times review. "It obviously makes the Fire more totable and it’s also easier to maintain control over the thing."

The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch display screen, compared to the iPad’s 10-inch screen.

The Kindle Fire has 8 gigabytes of memory, while Barnes and Noble's Nook tablet has 16 gigabytes of memory.

But reviewers insist the difference is minimal because of the way the devices are used.

"My music was uploaded to Amazon’s Cloud Player and I haven't stored much of anything locally," Larry Dignan wrote in a ZDNet review. "Cloud and local storage blends together well."

The device is largely meant for entertainment purposes and encourages users to buy products from Amazon.

"The case for Amazon is that it’s the dominant player. It has built-in music and movie stores. You can borrow Kindle books at 11,000 public libraries," Pogue wrote. "Everything you buy is stored in Amazon’s online locker, so it is always backed up and available to any of your other Amazon machines. Start watching a movie on your Fire, and your Roku box or TiVo at home remembers where you stopped."

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