Could Kindle Fire be the first actual challenger to the iPad?

I hate to be the kind of journo who says things like, “Demand for the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire tablet is ablaze,” but I gotta be that kind of journo. Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the (kinda) Android-based tablet that will be released on November 15, is showing some powerful pre-release interest that appears to bypass that of the iPad back when we were waiting for it to arrive.

According to BGR, market research firm ChangeWave ran a survey with 2,600 people to gauge interest in the tablet, and here’s what they found out:

According to ChangeWave’s survey, 5% of respondents have already pre-ordered Amazon’s Kindle Fire, or they are very likely to purchase the tablet following its launch next week. Another 12% of respondents say they are somewhat likely to purchase the device. A similar survey conducted in 2010 ahead of the iPad’s launch found that 4% of respondents were very likely to buy the tablet and 9% were somewhat likely.

And here’s how that translates into yet more percentages:

Survey data says 26% of likely Fire buyers (i.e. of the 5%) say they will delay/put on hold iPad buying. Sustained Fire uptake and ‘buzz’ will depend on consumer/reviewer reactions to Fire’s user experience.

Stronger results than that of the iPad before it was released, but before all you Android-loving hooligans start spraying your shorts, it’s also noted that, “the category was unfamiliar at the time, [so] it is possible that consumers were hesitant to commit to a purchase.”

In the 18 months or so since the iPad first arrived, we’ve heard nothing but various tech companies (RIM, HP, Samsung, HTC, etc) bleating about how they’re producing the “iPad Killer”, yet they have profoundly failed to do so. However, the Kindle Fire brings something to the table that many others haven’t: Comparable (note I said “comparable” and not necessarily “superior”) features for a significantly lower price point. The basic iPad starts at $499 while the starter Kindle Fire checks in at $199. The difference of $300 for someone who’s already prepared to spend a few hundred on a luxury item may not tip the scale, but it’s a more powerful factor than many pro-Apple pundits acknowledge, and it will put the Kindle Fire into a position that other Apple competition couldn’t achieve.

The bean-counters at Apple may not like the iPad dropping below the Kindle Fire numbers, but as far as the quality comparison between the two tablets goes, I have little doubt about which of the two will be a better tablet experience. It reminds me of a something I read long ago: “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey.”

Source: BGR

Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio