Amazon Kindle Fire tablets arrive a day early
Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet hit consumers' doorsteps Monday, arriving a day early to many of those who pre-ordered the much-hyped 7-inch slate.
The $199 tablet has been pegged by many tech analysts and pundits as the first tablet that has a real shot at becoming a blockbuster seller outside of Apple's hit iPad line.
"We're thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected," said Dave Limp, the vice president of Amazon's Kindle team, in a statement. "Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response we're building millions more than we'd planned."
Limp described the Fire as a premium product at a non-premium price. Indeed, the price is a key selling point for many.
Another big factor the Fire's success thus far is Amazon's ability to deliver content, and lots of it, to its tablet -- which has been a problem for most Android tablets on the market.
To ensure content is plentiful and consumed, Amazon is giving Fire buyers a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, its $79 yearly service that provides free video streaming and free shipping for items purchased from Amazon.com.
The Fire technically runs on Google's Android operating system, but it's a highly customized version of Android that focuses user activity toward content consumption from (where else?) Amazon, which has millions of e-books for sale alongside more than 17 million songs, more than 100,000 movies and TV shows and thousands of Android apps -- all from its own storefronts.
Amazon has been projected to sell about 3 million to 5 million Fire tablets before the year is up. However, the Seattle-based retailer has never released specific Kindle sales numbers and that's not expected to change with the Fire.
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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: An Amazon.com employee holds the Kindle Fire tablet at the device's unveiling in New York in September. Credit: Emile Wamsteker / Bloomberg