The iPad killer: A $199 tablet from Amazon?

The Kindle Fire marks a significant departure from Amazon’s norm. The most notable change is obviously the multitouch 7-inch LCD rather than an e-ink display, but moreover, the Kindle Fire is a complete storefront for the retailer rather than just an ereader. The tablet features apps for Amazon’s Android Appstore, Kindle store, Amazon MP3, and Prime Instant Video. Nearly all of Amazon’s recent news, Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon Cloud Drive, Kindle Cloud Reader, the streaming deals with Fox and NBCUniversal, were in preparation for the Fire. With these cloud services in place, the Kindle Fire is a legitimate iPad competitor.

But it’s more than just Amazon apps. Users are free to load apps from Amazon’s Android Appstore including Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, and, most notably, Netflix.

The Fire runs a custom OS build that completely hides its Android 2.x underpinnings. Amazon built, without the help of Google we’re told, an experience centered around all of Amazon’s retail and cloud services. This is an Amazon tablet and not just a Kindle.