My first impressions after playing with the Kindle Fire for an hour or so:
it’s basically a color, video-happy, app-happy Kindle.
fine for reading Kindle books, but if that’s what you want to do, the e-ink Kindles are cheaper, lighter, less distracting, and have much better battery life.
video playback from Amazon’s store or Netflix works great
app selection is small, but I’ll bet a lot of games show up soon/over time
overall touch interaction is ok but clunky, doesn’t quite feel right compared to iOS, scrolling is choppy, some touches aren’t recognized, some light touches send it scrolling for miles
web browser feels decidedly not as fast as this year’s Apple devices (iPad 2, iPhone 4S). So much for Silk?
Overall, if you compare it head to head against an iPad 2, of course the iPad comes out ahead, but it also costs 2.5x more, and is bigger and heavier. But iOS still sets the standard for natural touch interaction, and iOS also has a much wider app selection. Plus there’s more hardware packed into an iPad: camera and GPS, and options for adding external keyboards, so some people even find they can use it as a laptop replacement… anyway, I don’t see the Kindle Fire having comparable versatility.
If you want to focus on reading, video and games, and you like the 7” size (which is just right in many ways), the Kindle Fire is pretty compelling, especially given the price.
I sure hope Amazon is rapidly improving the touch interaction via software updates, though.