Amazon Kindle Fire sells at $199USD

The wraps are finally off Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet! Its splashy entry into the tablet firestorm was hard to miss. Amazon made quite a statement with its $199 price and yet I’m underwhelmed. At $199, the Kindle Fire falls into territory that won’t make a huge dent in consumers’ pocketbooks, and it’s almost, but not quite, an impulse buy.

However, the Kindle Fire is limited in several meaningful ways. First, it ships with just 8GB memory. That isn’t a lot of space for the kind of content I can easily envision consumers clamoring to use with the tablet. Second, you can sideload content of your own but you’ll also have to shop for your own apps to play that content. Third, the video player is solely for Amazon purchased or streamed content and the device has no image gallery for showcasing your favorite snaps. Last but not least, the Kindle Fire uses a variation of Android 2.3 with its own mostly unique interface and the apps for the device will only come from the Amazon Appstore.

As a potential buyer, I would have liked more reassurance that come mid-2012, the hot Android apps will work on my Kindle Fire tablet because the changes made to the operating system are minimal enough that Amazon expects to be able to work around any situations that may arise. Yes, I understand that Amazon hasn’t seen Ice Cream Sandwich yet, but the company’s developers should be aware of the direction the OS is heading in, and how that might impact Amazon’s ecosystem.

Here is the promo video: