Can Apple Put Out Amazon's Fire?

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Things are moving blazing fast in the tablet space, so why not give the Kindle Fire a shot?

TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) new tablet -- the best chance at a true competitor to Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPad -- will be introduced tomorrow as Kindle Fire.

Fire? Really? Am I the only one getting unsavory images of book burnings? No one is likely to bring an Amazon tablet into a theater -- nixing chances of the no-no of shouting "Fire" in a crowded venue -- but what about a security checkpoint at an airport.

"What's that in your bag, sir?"

"Fire!"

That won't end well. 

Then again, that's about all there isn't to like about the rumored moniker.

It isn't copying Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) by calling this Kindle Color -- or Kindle Kolor -- and that's good. The Nook Color is building an established audience, but Amazon can't come off as a copycat (even if Barnes & Noble bulls will argue exactly that).

 I like that it's cashing in on the value of the Kindle brand, though ideally Kindle Fire will be differentiated enough that Amazon fans will want both the new tablet and the existing e-reader.

TechCrunch is also reporting that the Kindle Fire may come with at least a year of Amazon Prime, unlocking access to what is now 11,000 video streaming titles at no additional cost. I'm not sure if I buy that. What will it mean for the millions of existing Prime members who would likely be part of the early adopters here? Will they feel cheated, or does Amazon plan on automatically extending their subscriptions by a year with a Fire purchase?

Another interesting rumor is that the devices won't ship until mid-November. This will still give it time to be a hot holiday item this season, but is Amazon taking a chance by trying to squeeze this announcement into the third quarter? Can it keep the vaporware hype going and the preorders from bolting if consumers have to wait six or seven weeks?

Fire when ready?

We'll all be smarter tomorrow once the pertinent details bubble up. With JPMorgan slashing iPad shipment targets and cheaper tablets on the way, this important niche is getting even more interesting ahead of the telltale holiday season.   

If you want to see how the tablet wars play out heading into the holidays, consider addingBarnes & Noble,Amazon.com, andAppleto My Watchlist.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple and Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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