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Amazon Kindle Fire

2011 was the year of the tablet. Following on the success of last year's iPad, scores of competitors have entered the marketplace, all offering thin and compact alternatives to laptops everywhere. While one tablet, the Amazon Kindle, started out as an e-book reader, the latest generation offers much more.

The recently released Kindle Fire does have books -- as well as movies, TV shows, music, games, apps and magazines. If you can get on Amazon.com, you can put it on this tablet. It has a dual-core processor with either 512 MB or 1 GB of space, and while that's not as plentiful as some other tablets, the Fire has free access to Amazon's massive cloud for all your storage needs.

The Android-based tablet also packs an acclaimed "Silk" web browser which uses the Amazon cloud to make web pages load very quickly [source: Amazon].

The best part? It's only $199, making it $50 less than the Barnes and Noble Nook Color and more than half as expensive as the Apple iPad 2.

Next up, let's look at an innovative way to play games on the iPad.

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