The tablet that changed the whole market for tablets, and isn't a tablet

Kindle Fire is so capable, so packed with features and so cheap that no tablet but iPad can compete


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What does it say about the market for tablet computers that the best-selling tab running Android is not really a tablet.

It's an e-reader that was invented to help sell the public on e-books, whose components don't have to be manufactured, printed or mailed but retail for close to the same price, vastly increasing profits to booksellers like Kindle developer Amazon.

The leading Android tablet is actually Amazon's Kindle Fire – an e-book reader built up into a general-purpose tablet that became the main competitor to Apple's dominant iPad immediately after the Kindle Fire was launched in November, 2011.

Within three weeks after launch, the Fire had grabbed 14 percent of all tablet sales, compared to 57 percent for iPad, according to iSuppli Market Research.

By the end of February sales of Kindle Fire had grown to 54.4 percent of the Android market, up from 29 percent at the end of December, according to sales tracking analysts ComScore.

Kindle Fire's best feature is its ability as an e-book reader, according to reviewers. It is much more, however. For a list price of $199, customers get a seven-inch display, 8GB of RAM, free storage on Amazon's cloud, WiFi and USB connections, the ability to run any Android-compatible app or game and automagical connections to media (for which you can pay Amazon) including e-books, music, movies and anything else you can find on the Internet.

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