The two hottest tech gifts this holiday season will likely be the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad. On Tuesday at 2:00PM Eastern over on ZDNet, we’re going to be debating which of the two is the better tablet. ZDNet’s Violet Blue will be arguing for the Kindle Fire and I’ll be arguing for the iPad (clearly the better option for techies and business professionals).

Here’s my opening statement:

The iPad has run roughshod over the tablet market for the past two years, despite a steady stream of challengers trying to knock it off its perch. Enter the Amazon Kindle Fire, the first real competitor that is causing anyone at Apple to break a sweat. Amazon is going to sell a lot of Kindle Fire tablets, without a doubt. It won’t sell as many as Apple but the Kindle Fire’s $200 price tag and solid design will be enough to attract a lot of buyers.

Still, the Kindle Fire is not the tablet for technologists or business professionals. It is the tablet for your grandma, Uncle Ted, or your 12 year old. It’s good at two things — consuming content from Amazon (books, videos, and music) and purchasing products from Amazon. The Kindle Fire does not and will not have the extended ecosystem of the iPad and the Fire’s 7-inch screen — as opposed to the 10-inch iPad — makes it less of a laptop replacement.

This is part of the ZDNet series, The Great Debate, and here’s how it works. The moderator sets the topic. The two debaters make their opening statements on Monday. On Tuesday, we get together for a live one-hour discussion where the moderator tosses out questions and the debaters have a few minutes to answer and respond to each other’s comments. On Wednesday, the debaters make a closing statement and on Thursday the moderator delivers a final verdict. Meanwhile, during the whole process, the audience gets its opportunity to vote for one side of the argument (and one debater) or the other.

Some of the issues we’ll discuss include:

  • What are the drawbacks of the two devices?
  • Which users are the two products aimed at?
  • Is $199 the Kindle’s best feature?
  • Which of the two devices is more “open”?

I’ve been pretty hard on tablets on the past — especially the iPad — but for those who want to make good use of a tablet for both work and play, the iPad is still a stronger option than the Kindle Fire, which is solely an Amazon media machine. At least the iPad has a dozen or so useful apps that can give you some productivity on your tablet.

Come join the debate, and send me a vote. I’m going to need it. 🙂