Kindle Fire

Amazon’s new $199 “Kindle Fire” may surpass the phenomenal sales of Apple’s iPad.

In the first five days it has been available for pre-order, 250,000 were sold. Apple sold 300,000 iPads on opening day, but that included pre-orders and live sales. If Amazon continues like this, the Fire will probably burn past the iPad.

Should you get one? Unlike the iPad 2, the Fire doesn’t have a microphone or camera, but its simplified interface makes it easy to switch from movies to games to books to photos. And no matter how many downloads you have, Amazon will store them for free if they originally came from Amazon. They have 18 million items: movies, TV shows, songs, magazines and books. Ten thousand movies can be downloaded for free if you pay $79 a year for a “prime” membership; which also gives you free two-day shipping on other Amazon orders. We took the deal because of the free shipping.

By the way: We recently saw a comparative price chart in the October 1, 2011 issue of the Economist magazine and Amazon’s prices were lower than Walmart and almost all other large retailers. The exceptions were Costco and Dollar General. Interesting stuff.

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