Flavor of the Week: Amazon Kindle Fire

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THE HYPE: The online retailer’s $199 multimedia tablet takes direct aim at the marketleading iPad — with a price point less than half of Apple’s iPad 2, which starts at $499. The 14.6-ounce Kindle Fire has a 7-inch full-color screen and offers streaming access to 11,000 movies and TV shows via Wi-Fi for members of the Amazon Prime free-shipping program. Amazon also announced a $79 Kindle e-reader; a $99 model with a touch screen; and a $149 unit with touch screen and 3G access.

WHAT IT MEANS: Stealing a page from Steve Jobs’ playbook welding devices to an Internet storefront, Amazon touts the Android-basd Kindle Fire as the ultimate digital media device. It can access more than 17 million songs and more than 1 million movies, TV shows, apps, books and other content, including more than 100,000 movies and TV shows.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY: $199; scheduled to ship Nov. 15.