Amazon Gets Into the Tablet Business

Amazon has pushed its chips into the tablet game with a less expensive, smaller Kindle Fire. And it's most likely not an iPad killer.

The Kindle Fire is a 7-incher, weighs 14.6 ounces, that runs on the Android OS and costs $199. The floor for an iPad is $499. What Amazon brings to the challenge, of course, is scalability. It is the largest online retailer in the world, after all.

"We're building premium products at non-premium prices," CEO Jeff Bezos said. "We are determined to do that."

But the device is devoid of a camera, a mic and 3G capabilities. And HP's and RIM's iPad challengers had those features -- and one of those is extinct, the other endangered.

It's probably a different market entirely that will want the Fire -- users who just want to consume content in a lean-back, compact way. Sharing things on social networks or snapping a quick pic while out and about won't matter to the Fire buyers, apparently.

The Fire comes with an app store, just like Android and iOS. But the screen size is really the critical point. iPads are 9.7-inch and a 7-inch tablet is right between iPad and a mobile phone.

The entire question falls to, "Is a tweener what they want?"

Amazon's stock is up more than 4 percent on this morning's news, while shares of Barnes & Noble (who make the Nook reader) fell.

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