Rhoda Alexander

Computerworld — Spending $150 to $200 on a tablet won't get you much these days: In most cases, you're looking at an off-brand Android product with a single-core processor, barely any RAM and a low-resolution, low-quality display. Depending on the device, you might not even have access to Google's app market or other basic services — and while that approach may work with retailer-backed, limited-use products like Amazon's Kindle Fire, when it comes to more traditional Android tablets, it doesn't usually lead to the best user experience. It's a stark contrast from what you get at the high end

Amazon’s Kindle Fire has certainly proved a strong contender in the tablet market, but the iPad is still winning in that arena. For Apple’s fourth quarter, though, the iPad’s stiffest competition was actually its sibling, the iPhone. In the last three months of 2011, Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads and iPad 2s, according to IHS. During that same period, Apple slipped from 64% of the global media market to 57%.

The Kindle Fire has proven to be an instant hit. (Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET) Well, it certainly didn't take long for Amazon's Kindle Fire to bring the heat. After only two weeks in the market, the Kindle Fire has skyrocketed ahead of many of its tablet competitors, according to IHS iSuppli. The firm is so confident in the Kindle Fire's success, that is already projecting it as the second-most popular tablet in the world, behind only Apple's iPad. The success of the Kindle Fire answers what had been a lingering question about the tablet business: whether consumers wanted tablets, or

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