Many moons ago Apple brought forth the iPad and it was well received. This was a minor miracle as all the pad or tablet computers that had gone before it were great disappointments, each failing to bring excitement or even utility to the tablet format. The iPad, as usual the slightly eccentric somewhat overpriced Apple product, managed to be something people wanted and lo, the tablet computer format was legitimized.
What Jobs wrought has Bezos now solidified. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a smaller tablet computer (7 inch screen compared to 9.7 inches), but plays well with what it is intended to run: Media, media, media. The Fire is nifty, relatively cheap ($199) and will drink from the deep well of content (books, movies, music) stored within the Amazon.com cloud. Fire is therefore a worthy competitor, ultimately for the content in Apple iCloud and also of some Apple products, mainly the iPod Touch, if not precisely the iPad. In the name of competition, all hail the Fire!
After the cheering dwindles, return to your senses and pay close attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the Fire that time will reveal. We know already that it is not a substitute for a true e-book reader. Standard Amazon Kindles will, for a while at least, prevail in that market. What else will it do less than well? Or if you prefer, what will it do best?
In the long run (say about 9 months in the consumer computer business), things will be different, but for now we have not only a competition, but tablet computers are now almost certainly destined to a prominent future.