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New Amazon tablet, “Kindle Fire,” set to be revealed on Wednesday

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In the battle royal that has become the mobile tablet market, companies including Blackberry, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Motorola have tried and failed to dethrone the champion Apple iPad.

Next up in the ring?  The Amazon Kindle Fire.

At a news conference in New York City on Wednesday morning, Amazon is expected to unveil its much-anticipated Kindle Fire tablet device, its successor to the popular Kindle e-book reader, and one that has had the technology world buzzing over for the past couple of months.

Though Amazon’s secret has been kept safe for the most part, some information regarding what to expect from the new tablet has been leaked.

Where as the old Kindle e-book reader featured an E-Ink electronic paper display, the new Kindle Fire will reportedly be a full-color, backlit, touch-screen tablet with a 7-inch display and look very similar to the Blackberry Playbook tablet, considering the same company designed both devices.

The Kindle Fire will also supposedly run on Google’s Android software, from which Amazon has built its own custom version, including its own Android Appstore.  While the store reportedly will not off all of the apps found in Google’s Android Market, Amazon is rumored to be in talks with several big app makers to get them contributing to the new tablet soon.

The Kindle Fire will still of course offer its customers access to the Kindle bookstore, but on top of that, the new device will also be heavily integrated with Amazon’s already popular streaming video service as well as its MP3 service.  ABC News is also reporting that magazine publishing heavyweights Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith all have made deals to publish magazines on the tablet.

While these are all impressive specs, perhaps the most important one of all, and the one that could separate the Kindle Fire from the rest of the iPad’s competition, is the price tag.

Tech Crunch, the online technology website, is reporting that, while the pricing is still somewhat of a mystery at least until tomorrow, Amazon’s Kindle Fire could hit the market for somewhere between the $250-$300 range, about half the cost of Apple’s iPad 2 and cheaper than any of the other iPad competitors.  The website is speculating that the base unit of the Kindle Fire could be available for $250 while a version that includes Amazon Prime, the company’s movie and television streaming service that is normally $79 per month, might be available for $300.  Again, the world will find out tomorrow.

But will the Amazon Kindle actually be able to compete with the iPad?  Considering its still inferior specs and the fact that Apple controls 73 percent of the tablet market and has sold an estimated 29 million iPads to date, the answer is probably not.

However, one of the best qualities that Amazon has going for it is that it has already established success in the handheld device market with the original Kindle.  At half the price, fans of the e-book reader might see the new Kindle Fire as a reasonable alternative to the expensive Apple tablet.

And with the Kindle Fire expected to hit store shelves the second week of November, its release will come just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Of course, competition not be light in that area either as the new Apple iPhone 5 is expected to be released around the same time and an announcement for the iPad 3 could be coming soon.

Let the battle begin.

photo courtesy of goXunuReviews

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