Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet sold six million units in 2011, but a new contender in the economy tablet class has emerged. It's called the Spark tablet, and at $265, it's certainly much cheaper than almost any other seven inch tablet. Not as cheap as the $200 Kindle Fire, though. It's not a hybrid tablet, but the Spark runs an operating system called Plasma Active, an open-source OS by K Desktop Environment (KDE) and Germany based open-slx. The system is used in a variety of touch computing devices like smartTV's and tablets, but it's not known yet if the Spark will allow access to the Android Market a la BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0. However, there will be a Plasma Active store with paid and free apps as well as digital books from Project Gutenburg.

The Spark features a seven-inch display, 1GHz CPU, 512 megabytes of memory, four gigabyts of storage, microSD card slot and mini-HDMI port. It's designed for free software enthusiasts, tech blog Liliputing reported. But that doesn't mean the price tag won't attract mainstream consumers. It's the same size as the Kindle Fire, only a few dollars more and has a microSD card reader for extra storage; Kindle Fire doesn't offer the SD card slot. Kindle Fire cannot access the Android Market either, but there are more apps in the Amazon Appstore than in the Plasma Active store.

Kindle Fire also features a dual-core processor, 1024x600p resolution and free cloud storage for any digital purchases made from Amazon. KDE hasn't announced a release date, other than to say the Spark would be ready soon. Spark sounds promising but for the lack of apps. It would make a good media tablet though because it can be hooked up to an HDTV with the mini-HDMI port. Let us know in the comments if you'd consider the Spark or if the current lack of apps is a deal breaker.