Although you say Wintel will hate this, there's a large crumb of comfort in the new browser. Steve Ballmer's probably rubbing his hands in glee at increased fragmentation of the competition to IE. If they'd gone with one of the established ones it'd be a bigger headache for him.
I think the Fire has a chance since Amazon isn't just producing another android tablet. The tight integration with Amazon's other products makes it an amazing consumption device, with tight integration to all the products in Amazon's inventory from books to movies to MP3s to apps. It's a tight ecosystem that's second only to Apple.
The thing I'm most impressed by is the Silk browser. If it works half as well as it's advertised to, it's a revolution in browser design.
I think the Kindle Fire will do very well, and not only because it's inexpensive, and not because of it's hardware or software features -- it will do well because of it's integration with Amazon's cloud services.
Some say "walled gardens" are a bad thing, but as millions of Apple customers will tell you, many consumers really like walled gardens when they are affordable, they give you want you want, and they just work.
" I suspect it is using something like Intel's Wi-Fi based display technology as the lowest cost way to make the link."
I think you're misinterpreting what the Whisper Synch is about. It is simply bookmarking where you are. Your smart TV or some connected device would need an Amazon app which would then utilize the TVs connection to the internet to pull the content and appropriate bookmark from Amazon's servers... the content doesn't get transferred from the Kindle directly to the TV.
Amazon is in a pretty good position to compete with Apple since they have a huge marketplace in terms of books and media offerings. I really hope it catches some of the Apple market so as the drive the product better.
On the other hands, according to the limited information online, I don't see it is better than B&N nook Color.
Only the specification can tell whether the performance is measured up to iPad.