NEW TWIST ON LAPTOPS: Purebred tablets vs. hybrid PCs
This means you can get the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version for $250 and the 32GB Wi-Fi/4G edition for $450.
Apple's 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad costs $500 and the 32GB version with Wi-Fi and 4G costs $730, though some holiday deals can be found where retailers are tossing in gift cards to help defray the cost. Retailers aren't technically allowed to sell the Apple products for less than the standard price.
Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire HD in September, boasting of its screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and cloud storage options. The new devices have an HDMI port so they can be connected to high-definition TV sets, and they include Microsoft Exchange integration. A new email client offers support for Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Exchange and Hotmail.
A 7-inch model is also available.
Credit: Martyn Williams, IDG News Service
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD during an event in Santa Montica, Calif., in September.
The latest predictions from researcher IDC show a continuing increase in tablet sales from the end of 2012 all the way through 2016, according to the company's latest Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. IDC raised its estimate for the total number of tablets to be sold worldwide in 2012 from 117.5 million to 122.3 million, on the basis of strong demand for the Apple iPad mini and growing Android sales numbers.
Jon Gold contributed to this report.