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Kindle Fire or iPad 2: No Comparison

The Kindle Fire is $300 cheaper than the iPad 2 so they really should not be compared. If you want an iPad, nothing else will do.

However, Amazon's Kindle Fire is an awesome device. Mine arrived the other day and I absolutely love it. It's a good e-reader. I like the screen. Video looks good, audio is acceptable and, for $200, what's not to love?

If you carry an Android smartphone, you already have a Kindle in your pocket. If you want one with a 7-inch screen, the Kindle Fire is for you. If you know someone who is a total technophobe and you 'want a low-cost entry into the realm of digital content consumption (books, music, videos, etc.), the Kindle Fire fits the bill. If you know someone who loves to read, needs to check an occasional email and likes to browse the web once in a while, again, the Kindle Fire is a good choice.

Is it anything like an iPad 2? No. Not in any way. But it is at least $300 dollars cheaper and that makes it the right device for several different users.

Here's how to decide which if the Kindle Fire is right for you:

  • If you want a device to: read ebooks, check email, browse the web, read magazines, watch videos, listen to music, play a few games and use a few apps, the Kindle Fire is for you.
  • If you want a device with a camera, video chat, expandable storage, 3G wireless access, GPS, maps, location services, or bluetooth, do not buy a Kindle Fire.
  • If you are on a budget and you want a well built, beautiful, simple to use e-reader with a ton of extra features that offer a tablet-like experience, you really can't go wrong.
  • If you are not on a budget and you want an iPad, buy an iPad.

And, most importantly, if you think that you want all the things an iPad can do, but you're not willing to spend the $300 extra dollars to purchase one, do not purchase the Kindle Fire thinking that it's a poor man's iPad. That does a disservice to the Kindle Fire and to you. The Kindle Fire is not pretending to be an iPad, people are making the comparison because it's an easy comparison to make. Don't!

The Kindle Fire is the perfect gift for someone who reads and wants to consume Amazon content. Think of it as a portable access point to amazon.com. It also has some great cloud storage features and, if you've got a robust WiFi connection available to you, you will really enjoy streaming music and videos from the cloud.

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The bottom line: The Kindle Fire is a great gift and a great value for $200. It is not a $500 iPad for $200. Choose wisely.

About the Author: Shelly Palmer is the host of "Digital Life with Shelly Palmer," a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world which can be seen on WNBC-TV's NY Nonstop Tuesdays at 10p Eastern and online, and the host of "MediaBytes," a daily news show that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Mr. Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press) and the upcoming, Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy (2009, Lake House Press). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net For information visit www.shellypalmer.com

See more articles by Shelly:
Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2: First Glance
MacBook Air vs. ASUS Zenbook
iPad 2 Review

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