By Erin Strecker
November 14, 2011 at 10:27 PM EST

Amazon announced today that it would be shipping its best-selling new tablet, the Kindle Fire, today, one day earlier than expected. This is great news to consumers eager to get their hands on the iPad challenger.

Retailing for $199, the Kindle Fire is Amazon’s response to pricier tablets, and it’s clear they are hopeful that the mass quantity they anticipate selling will offset costs. Research firm iSuppli estimates that Amazon spends about $210 to make each Kindle Fire that it sells for $199 — a business model that can’t be sustained long-term. The affordability is the Fire’s main selling point. (That, and the Amazon name, which is already synonymous in consumers’ minds as one-stop-shopping for entertainment needs.)

The earlier release date also moves up the all-important reviews. Gizmodo has called the Kindle Fire “puzzlingly simple” and has highlighted the Amazon Prime membership as a selling point. At a time when Netflix is struggling, Prime is picking up the slack, allowing users to instantly stream everything in their Prime catalogue on the Kindle Fire. This kind of ease could spell major trouble for Apple and other tablets.

Engadget is also rather positive in their detailed review, stating that its biggest competition is still to come: The Barnes & Noble-backed Nook tablet, slated to release November 16.

Shelf Life-ers: Excited about these developments? Will you be picking up a Kindle Fire?

Read more:

Amazon unveils gamechanging new products, including Kindle Fire tablet 

Barnes and Noble removes Sandman, Watchmen, and other graphic novels from its shelves

Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet unveiled — CEO calls Amazon’s Kindle Fire ‘deficient’