TMCnet Feature
September 28, 2011

Amazon Sets Out to Extinguish Competition with Kindle Fire Tablet

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

Will Amazon’s new tablet light a fire under the competition? It looks like it has a good chance as it stands at half the price of Apple’s (News - Alert) iPad, at $199.  

Today, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon’s much anticipated tablet, the Kindle Fire, which is expected to be released the second week of November in its seven-inch form factor, a bit larger than the Kindle e-reader. The dolled up version of the Kindle electronic-book reader will run on Google’s Android (News - Alert) software.

Amazon’s current offerings run the gamut from the Amazon app store to Amazon Prime to an MP3 store to a cloud player.

“Is there some way we can bring all these things together?” Bezos asked audience members during the keynote today. “… The answer is yes. It's called Kindle Fire."

With the light, easy to hold, 14.6 ounce Kindle Fire, consumers can enjoy a dual core processor, comprehensive content, apps from the Android app store, millions of books, and full color magazines. Other features include a color touchscreen that delivers 16 million colors in high resolution; a simple, intuitive interface; the ability to stream 100,000 movies and TV shows including thousands of new releases and TV shows; apps and games; and access to over one million books.

The Kindle Fire also comes equipped with Amazon Silk, a revolutionary, cloud-accelerated browser that uses a "split browser" architecture to leverage the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) cloud, according to Amazon officials. Amazon Silk supports Adobe flash Player.  

Moreover, all the content in the Kindle Fire is backed up into the cloud so that if you delete something you can quickly get it back.

But what is Bezos most excited about with regards to the new tablet? The unbeatable price.

“What's the price of Kindle Fire? How affordable is Kindle Fire? It's $199,” Bezos said. "This is an unbelievable value."

The cheapest Apple iPad on the market right now comes in at $499, leading many industry analysts to surmise that Amazon’s tablet might be just the game changer in the tablet race. Apple sold 28.7 million iPads from April 2010 to June 2011, and analysts at research firm Gartner (News - Alert) Inc. expect the iPad to account for three out of four tablet sales this year.

But, according to industry experts, the Amazon tablet is poised to make the Apple empire quiver because of its power to overtake the iPad thanks to Amazon's strong media offerings, history of aggressive pricing and its ability to market the device on its popular website.

"Amazon's willingness to sell hardware at a loss, combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets, makes it the only credible iPad competitor in the market," Forrester (News - Alert) analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said in a recent Fox news report. She noted that Amazon is likely to sell three to five million tablets in the fourth quarter.

The Kindle Fire ships on Nov. 15 but consumers can pre-order the tablet now.

In addition to spreading the word about the innovative Kindle Fire tablet, Bezos also shed some light on other Amazon releases including a new e-book reader called Kindle Touch – a smaller, lighter, more inventive device. The Kindle Touch uses the same high-density “pearl” e-ink as the previous Kindle but you can swipe your finger on the page to turn the screen and type on an –on screen keyboard.

“People are going to love this device,” Bezos said of the e-reader, priced at $99. The Kindle Touch will be released on Nov. 21.

Amazon also unveiled the Kindle Touch 3G, priced at $149, which offers free 3G wireless so that consumers never have to hunt for WiFi spots again. The latest product is also eight percent lighter; boasts the most-advanced E Ink display; and has a massive book selection of over 800,000 titles.

“We're going to sell many millions of these,” Bezos said.

And for those that don’t need or want touch (or fingerprints on displays), consumers can enjoy the $79 Kindle – an “incredibly light,” 18 percent smaller,30 percent lighter e-reader.

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