New research from Retrevo suggests that Amazon may finally have developed the tablet capable of competing with Apple's mighty iPad.

SLIDESHOW: First look: The Amazon Kindle Fire

In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers commissioned by Retrevo last month, 44% said they would consider buying an Amazon Kindle Fire instead of an iPad 2 this coming holiday season. An equal number said they didn't know enough about the Kindle Fire to make a decision while just 12% said they would still buy an iPad instead of a Kindle Fire.

Additionally, 12% of respondents said they were actively planning on buying a Kindle Fire this holiday season while 10% said they were actively planning to buy an iPad. Among users who already owned a tablet, 27% said they were planning to buy the Kindle Fire while 20% said they were planning on buying the iPad. Andrew Eisner, Retrevo's director of community and content, says the Kindle Fire's two main selling points may be its lower price and smaller size relative to the iPad.

"It looks like a 7-inch tablet could be very popular," writes Eisner on the Retrevo blog. "Perhaps there are a lot of iPad owners who feel the iPad is a tad heavy and difficult to hold in one hand."

Eisner also thinks that Amazon has been shrewd with the timing of its new tablet since the iPad 2 has been out for several months while and Apple is not expected to ship a new model until the start of next year at the earliest. The Kindle Fire, on the other hand, is coming out just in time for the holiday shopping season and has "a very attractive $199 price point" that could make it a popular gift.

Tech argument: The iPad vs. everything else

While Apple's iPad has thoroughly dominated the tablet market over the past two years, Amazon's soon-to-be-released tablet has been hyped as the first tablet to actually give the iPad a run for its money due to its lower price, its integration with Amazon's cloud services and its unique Android interface designed by Amazon. Amazon has also created new Web browser called Amazon silk that utilizes Amazon's cloud capabilities to speed up page load times by tracking your Web browsing patterns and preloading pages you typically visit through Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2). In other words, Amazon's cloud requests your frequently-visited pages before you even ask for them so they're ready to go for you.

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