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Is the Amazon Kindle Fire Really an iPad 2 Competitor?

When Amazon announced plans last week to bring out its own tablet computer, the technology world watched and wondered if the e-shopping retailer was about to take on Apple and the iPad.

But according to research firm YouGov, the real battle hotting up right now with the release of the aptly-named Kindle Fire might actually be between Amazon and the Android tablet operating system.

Kindle Fire versus Android tablets

Selling for just $199 in America, the Kindle Fire is capable of running Android apps and games and is backed by a wealth of Amazon’s entertainment offerings.

From MP3s to movies and TV shows to books, newspapers and magazines, Amazon promises the Kindle Fire puts 18 million pieces of digital content at its owner’s fingertips.

It also has a brand-new web browser called Amazon Silk, free cloud storage, a colour touchscreen and a powerful dual-core processor.

UK launch after Christmas?

Unfortunately for British consumers, the Kindle Fire doesn’t have a release date in the UK and is only going on sale in America for now, from November 15.

Of course, the iPad 2 costs more than double but it does have a bigger screen, cameras for taking pictures and making video calls, thousands more apps and the wow factor associated with any Apple product launch.

Rival Android tablets from the likes of Samsung, Acer, Archos and Motorola have struggled to compete against it, while BlackBerry’s PlayBook device is faling to live up to its hype.

But with its competitive price, Russell Feldman, Associate Director for Technology and Telecoms Consulting at YouGov believes the Kindle Fire could succeed where these have failed and be a winner.

He explained: “Apple is far and away the current UK market leader in terms of brand awareness, preference and price. But the introduction of the Kindle Fire, with its compelling features and even more attractive price, will make it very hard indeed for other players to compete.

“The Kindle Fire benefits not only on price and specifications, but also in the value and trust consumers have in the Amazon brand.

“What’s more it has the potential to be a major game-changer given the depth of Amazon’s downloadable content.”

YouGov believes a price-tag of around £250 is the mark where we will see tablet computers take off in Britain and with none coming close to that right now with a decent spec’d offering, the potential for the Kindle Fire to do well is obvious.

Apple iPad 2 the most popular tablet computer

In fact, findings from YouGov’s TabletTrack research has found the same number of people would rather buy an outdated original Apple iPad than buy one from all of the other rival makers put together – leaving a gaping hole for the Kindle Fire to fill.

Mr Feldman added: “Already trailing the iPad 2 on brand preference among UK consumers, tablets from manufacturers like Acer, HTC, Motorola, LG and Samsung now face almost impossible competition as the Kindle Fire joins the fray.

“Amazon is likely to make a rapid approach to the summit, at the expense not necessarily of Apple, but of its rival Android stable mates.”

Last week Amazon also launched a new version of its basic Kindle device, which will go on sale in Britain from October 12. It is smaller and lighter than before and costs just £89.

Kindle alternatives

But if you’re looking for another way of reading books electronically then there are plenty of options at your fingertips.

For a start the Kindle app is available for all smartphones and tablets and you only have to buy something once. It can then be accessed from any device through your single account.

Sony also have their own range and and if you’re a digital bookworm looking for another fix, then the new ELONEX 621EB e-reader is capable of reading all sorts of formats, it has a six inch screen, 1GB memory, a battery life that lasts for 7000 page turns and the ability to play music stored on an SD card.