Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch ships, to joust with iPads

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch ships, to joust with iPads

Summary: This tablet scrum is likely with Apple's iPad mini, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and a bevy of Android and Windows 8 devices is to be the main event for the holiday shopping season.


Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch tablet ships on Thursday and the 4G version lands next week. What remains to be seen is how the Kindle Fire HD winds up jousting with Apple's iPad mini for wallet share.


The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch version goes for $299 and will be sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Staples and other retailers. The 4G version, which includes a $49.99 LTE plan, ships next week.

Now it's a hard call to say that the large Kindle Fire HD competes with the Apple iPad mini, which starts at $329. However, there is only so much technology dollars to go around. Consumers, prosumers and even a few corporate technology buyers will face the following options when making their tablet calls:

  1. Go cheap with something like Nexus 7;
  2. Venture up the Android tablet stack for a more expensive, but larger Samsung tablet;
  3. Go with the hardware-meets-service model from Amazon at good prices;
  4. Buy an iPad mini, which would be a no-brainer if it had a better screen resolution and a lower starting price;
  5. Go with a Windows 8 tablet, which roughly speaking will cost you more but can replace laptops in some instances.

Simply put, these tablet decisions are difficult. Amazon will win its share of sales and so will the other players.

This tablet scrum is likely to be the main event for the holiday shopping season. Technology buyers have a lot of choices, but that also complicates the decision making. 


Topics: Tablets, Amazon, Android, Apple, iPad, Windows

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  • why

    Why would anyone go for the fire now that you can get a nexus for about the same price?
    Jeff Krogue
    • One reason

      If you're vested in the Amazon ecosystem, then a Kindle HD offers a better value. Also, it is a less challenging device for those a little slow on the uptake (it was a consideration when I chose a Kindle over Nexus for my 80-year old mother last month).
    • Because

      I use it for reading books, magazines, listening to music, watching movies, checking email, twitter, web surfing, viewing photos, and playing a few games. Amazon still offers more music, movies, games, and books combined than anyone else does (Note I used the word combined). I kept checking it against the Google Play store and the choices just aren't there at this time. Add Amazon Prime to the mix and it's an even better deal. I also have an app just in case I need to work with word, excel, or powerpoint but for my uses, that doesn't happen often since this is supposed to be fun for me, not work. And, if you haven't seen it, the new screen is quite good.
      • One more thing

        I am not slow on the uptake. I just use these devices for fun and content consumption. I look towards the Win 8 hybrids for work since the tools we use on the job require a Windows environment.
  • Why Retina screen for iPad mini was never an option for this release

    Apple uses IPS screens with amorphous silicon transistor colour filters in iPad mini, and as well as in iPad 3/4 with Retina screen. And it is different subtype of technology to that of phone-sized screens: LTPS/FFS, which allows more translucent colour filter matrix, but it is too pricey to use in such big screen as in 9.7″ iPad (and no one mass-produces bigger than phone-sized displays with LTPS/FFS technolgy anyway).

    So Apple had to use more typical technology for such size, and it required making iPad 3/4 thicker and heavier than iPad 2 simply because the backlight had to be so much brighter to compensate for dramatically more obstructive interpixel areas, which is not compensated with higher translucency of transistors themselves as with LTPS/FFS technology that used in phone-sized screens.

    Sharps’s IGZO technology finally solves this issue even for bigger screen, but output levels are still low, so Apple was not able to update iPad 4 screen to use of such technology. And of course Apple was not able to use it in iPad mini.

    This means that to make iPad mini with Retina display **right now** Apple had to make much heavier, thicker and pricier device that it wanted it to be. And up to 100 g lesser weight is one of the biggest usability advantage over much smaller screen 7″ rivals.

    Apple will update both iPad and iPad mini screens with IGZO technology next year, when production levels will allow that.
    • Re: Why Retina screen for iPad mini was never an option for this release

      Excuses, excuses. The fact that the Asus Nexus 7 is able to offer a superior-quality 216-dpi screen in a cheaper and more compact package just shows how badly Apple has dropped the ball on this one.
  • Why!

    Larger than the I-Pad mini, better display if you buy into the hype that it matters, an attractive price, highly functional, enough apps for a sane person, access to the Amazon eco-system, sold by a company that backs its products. A lot of value.... that is why.