How does the new Kindle tablet compare to an iPad 2?
This question was answered on September 30, 2011. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Amazon’s entry into the tablet market (called the Kindle Fire) takes a much different approach than other tablet’s that have tried to compete with the iPad by not trying to compete with the iPad!
Amazon recognized that trying to go toe-to-toe with Apple sporting another ‘me too’ device was a losing proposition, so they focused on creating an alternative for those that didn’t need all of the capabilities or the price of an iPad 2.
The Kindle Fire will retail for $199 (that’s less than half the price of the cheapest iPad) and launch on November 15th.
A huge advantage that Amazon has over other tablet contenders is they also own an enormous library of content and a delivery system that integrates seamlessly into their hardware device (like Apple’s iTunes and App Store).
Think of the Kindle Fire as the razor and all of the content that Amazon plans to sell users as the razorblades.
Amazon had to make compromises in order to build such a low cost tablet It has a 7” screen instead of a 9.7” screen, it does not have a camera (front or back), is Wi-Fi only, has a fixed 8Gb of storage (half the amount of the smallest iPad) and just like the iPads, it has no expandable storage options (Amazon’s counting on you using ‘the cloud’ for a lot of your storage).
The Kindle Fire is thicker than the iPad 2, but weighs less than a pound (14.6 ounces vs the iPad 2 at 21.1 ounces) so it should feel very much like the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s 7” model.
I find that the 7” devices are more conducive to being carried on your person; they fit easily into coat pockets and even fit in the back pocket of my jeans making it more likely to be taken on casual outings like dinner or the park.
The display technology is rumored to be the same as the iPad 2 and it will ship with some form of a dual core processer, which should put it on par with the iPad 2 and faster than the original iPad.
The Kindle Fire will not have Bluetooth, HDMI connectors or any type of GPS (it only has a USB interface for syncing and charging) but it can play music, videos, check e-mail and its browser will be Flash enabled, unlike the iPads.
The key is that Amazon can deliver the content (books, magazines, music, video, games and even apps) right out of the gate because it’s their core business and we have clearly seen that ‘content is king’ when it comes to tablet devices.
If you like to read, Amazon’s Kindle Store offers more than 1 million books, while Apple’s iBookstore has just over 200,000 titles In fairness, iPad users can download the Kindle app and buy books from either bookstore, so either device is great for the veracious reader.
The bottom line is that Amazon focused purely on users that were interested in consuming media and not creating it to keep the price down It’s actually less of an iPad contender and more of an e-reader on steroids in my opinion.
I don’t see very many existing iPad users selling their tablets to step down to the Kindle Fire, but I do see a huge number of users that couldn’t quite justify the price of the iPad or that wished their e-readers did more loving this device.
The best news for everyone is that this will create pricing pressure across all of the tablet platforms, so you can expect to see prices dropping on all the other existing devices especially as we get closer to the holiday shopping season.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on September 30, 2011