Amazon's Kindle Fire HD will give Apple's iPad fits

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD will give Apple's iPad fits

Summary: First, there was Google's Nexus 7, and now there's Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, the Android tablet has come of age and the iPad team should start worrying.

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I love my Nexus 7. It's replaced my Apple iPad for daily use. But, at 7-inch display, people who want a full-sized tablet don't  like it as much as I do. For them, the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD with its 8.9-inch display, 16GBs of storage, and a price of only $299 may just hit their sweet spot

Don't think for a minute that the Kindle Fire HD is just for home-users. True, it's got lots of consumerish features such as FreeTime, so your kids won't spend all day on the tablet; Dolby audio for music and movies; X-Ray for Movies, which will let you get film info from IMDB while you're watching a film; and so on. That's all nice, but it was the business features that caught my eye.

KindleforBusiness
The Kindle Fire HD may be the business tablet you've been looking for.

This new top-of-the-line Kindle comes with Microsoft Exchange support and out of the box can sync e-mail, contacts and calendars with Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. As I was watching this I couldn't help thinking that is what RIM's Blackberry PlayBook should have been... and wasn't. Maybe the forthcoming 4 LTE PlayBook can be competitive, but the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD have raised the bar.

For its display the Kindle Fire HD has a 1920x1200 screen. It also includes a front-facing HD camera with a customized version of Skype for video-conferencing.

This new model Kindle also includes dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi. Amazon also claims that this is the first tablet to use two antennas. This mean that it can use 802.11n' built-in MIMO (multiple input, multiple outputs) functionality. In practice, Amazon claims that will make the Kindle Fire HD 21 percent faster Wi-Fi than the iPad.. The top-end version of the product also includes 4G LTE support.

For a processor, the new Kindle Fire HD uses a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor. This is a quad-core ARM-based processor. Bezos claims this processor is faster than Nvidia’s Tegra 3.

What we don't know for certain is what Android this new model Kindle tablet will be running. The first Kindle Fire used Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a lot of Amazon special sauce on top. Rumor has it that this version used Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich with, once more, a lot of Amazon modifications to the interface. That sounds reasonable to me.

Looking at the bottom line details, the Kindle Fire HD comes with either 16 or 32GBs of storage. The Fire HD in 8.9" with 32 GB and 4G LTE will sell $499, A similarly equipped iPad 3 will run you $729. There's also a 7-inch Fire HD. The 16GB 7-inch model, at $199, is $50 cheaper than its Nexus 7 rival. The smaller Fire will ship on September 14, the larger models will start moving out to users on November 20th. 

So how can Amazon afford to sell these at this price point? Well as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We want to make money when people use our device not when they buy our devices.” The Kindle family is, as Bezos mentioned, built around a service business model rather than a sales model. And, I, for one, while appreciating that this is sure to be a consumer favorite, can also see it being a business favorite as well.

Apple? Google? The ball is now in your court.

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Topics: Amazon, 4G, Android, Google, Tablets, Wi-Fi

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51 comments
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  • Samsung

    Samsung released an 8.9 Galaxy Tab about a year ago. It's an interesting form factor. A nice compromise for those who want something smaller than an iPad or the typical 10.1" Android tablet, but feel that 7" just doesn't offer enough screen real-estate to be useful.

    I like having both a 7" tablet and a 10.1" tablet, but if I could only choose one, then an 8.9" might be a decent compromise.

    BTW, will Amazon be releasing a WiFi only version? I don't see any pricing info on that.
    dsf3g
    • It's in there

      the 7" is 199 and the 8.9" is 299.
      hoaxoner
  • Umm

    From a hardware perspective, sure it will... from a content and software perspective? Not going to happen!

    Is an Android fan and I liked the original fire but, I hated that I had to leave so much content behind when using the Fire. I basically had to rebuy everything I already owned for Android and iOS... With the Nexus I can install the Amazon MP3, Amazon App store, and stream Amazon Videos through the browser! I cannot do the same with my Google or Apple content on the Fire.
    slickjim
    • Re: Umm

      I would expect that a rooting tool would appear in fairly short order. The current fire has such a tool, and you can then install the google play store.

      What I want to know is how much the 3 and 5GB data plans will cost. 250mb is practically useless nowadays for anyone with anything other than very light usage.
      iloving
      • Not to mention you can install anything you have the .apk for.

        I've got a number of Google Play store only apps on my Kindle Fire, simply because the developers allowed easy access to the apks, which install just fine on the Kindle Fire.
        Aerowind
        • google play apps

          hi there how can you do this please,there are so many that my daughter wants that i cant get through amazon but can through google play store,but i dont know how to!!!! help please,thanks.
          leanne2505
      • It doesn't look like that's on the table.

        From what I can see, the *only* data plan offered for 4G is the 250MB/mo. $50/yr plan.
        bhartman36
    • Re: Umm

      Think Cyanogenmod...this works quite well
      rcm0502@...
  • So did it give the iPad "fits"?

    I understand it was released late 2011 so we should know by now.
    Laraine Anne Barker
    • RE: So did it give the iPad "fits"?

      I doubt it. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 models originally sold for $469 (16GB )and $569 (32GB) U.S. More here:

      http://gadgetian.com/10254/samsung-galaxy-tab-8-9-specs-price/

      P.S. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (16 GB) sells for $399 U.S., same as the iPad 2.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Kudos Amazon

    Apple better release something better than the iPad IE (IE because Apple is stagnating as much as MS did with IE) or Amazon and MS are eventually going to start putting a dent in iPad sales.

    Don't get me wrong, this won't happen today, just like IE's dominance has taken 10+ years to rectify. Apple can coast for a few more years simply on their current monopoly but eventually, they'll fall to competition that is consistently better, just like IE has fallen to Chrome.

    Kudos to Amazon, kudos to MS, and here is hoping the free market can work its magic.
    toddbottom3
    • Toddy...I'm just wondering...

      Toddy my dear friend...Next year, when Amazon & MS bring out their next version of Kindle Fire & Surface and they both just add a few new features like another or slightly better camera or more pixels or other arguably incremental improvement...when that happens (as is inevitable with the nature of product evolution)...will you say that they're stagnating? Or, is it only Apple that your standards apply to.

      As a mutual friend of ours once said...."Cue the double...." No, I can't do it.

      One other point....iPad had 151% growth in sales year over year. Not bad (and hardly stagnant) for a three year old product family! http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/04/24Apple-Reports-Second-Quarter-Results.html

      On a more positive note: you and I finally agree....let's hope indeed that the free market can work it's magic!
      UGottaBKidding
      • It depends

        "will you say that they're stagnating?"

        Will they sell these devices as magical and revolutionary? If so, and they aren't, yes, I'll say they are stagnating. Hey, I admitted that IE stagnated. I also hated ME, another clear example of MS stagnating.

        "....iPad had 151% growth in sales year over year. Not bad (and hardly stagnant)"

        Great. Now you just have to point out where I said their sales have stagnated.

        See, you prove my point. Apple has done nothing to improve these products and yet they are rewarded with fantastic growth.

        Monopoly.
        toddbottom3
        • Has done Nothing to improve their products, Todd?

          Although you discount the iPad's retina 2048-by-1536 resolution display (which the Kindle HD and Microsoft's Surface tablets still can't match), most unbiased reviewers agree with the vast majority of reviewers and users of this display that this display was and is revolutionary.

          In the same year that this display was introduced, Apple made available to US customers LTE 4G cellular capability and Bluetooth 4.0 - major upgrades from your iPad2 model.

          Of course, some might feel, like you, that the upgrade to a 1080P video camera and the 5 megapixel photo camera was not significant enough to warrant a yawn or that Apple doesn't try hard enough to please their world wide customers.

          Then again, Apple did upgrade their iOS from version 4 to 5 when the new iPad was introduced only 6 months ago. (And soon to be ver 6 - so much for the theory Apple doesn't improve their software products.)

          My friend, I know you were trying to bait your Apple fanboy admirers (and considering some of their derogatory comments, I don't blame you one bit), but saying the iPad 3 was not a significant improvement over the your iPad 2 model is a very long stretch - at best.
          kenosha77a
          • Seriously?

            Kindle HD is 1080P in 8.9" screen size... 248 PPI vs 264 isn't a huge difference in these sizes and many other areas of the Fire HD screen are superior.
            slickjim
          • From Behind the Curve to Overkill

            When Apple did this they went from behind the curve for resolution to resolution overkill. It was a good move on their part, and they'll never have to up the resolution again. However, it wasn't exactly revolutionary. This tablet's resolution is good enough.
            CFWhitman
          • ?

            ...just curious to know how a display with a ppi of 264 could be considered "revolutionary"?...and if I'm not mistaken, Apple's original standard for a screen being a 'retina display' was a pixel density of 300 and higher so how does the new iPad qualify as such? Am I missing something?
            trob6969
    • MICROSOFT AND AMAZON WILL CONTINUE TO COPY AND TRY AND PLAY CATCH UP!

      Microsoft's tablet aspirations are a joke, and have been for the last 10-years. Bringing a bloated desktop OS to a Mobile party hasn't worked in 10-years, but it might work now because M$ is super desperate?

      Think Again!

      Amazon can give away all the cheap, plastic tablets they want to, but their products will always lack build quality and app ecosystem. All they're doing is wasting millions to kill off the struggling Android tablet market. So say goodbye to the Nexus 7 and the Galaxies and Transformers...but lets just face the facts...they weren't selling ANYWAY!

      Hey Toddy, remember to kiss your Life Partner tonight...right on the moustache, you sausage swallowing spunk depot!
      orandy
      • Apple fanbois like orandy and ugottabkidding are so classy

        "Hey Toddy, remember to kiss your Life Partner tonight...right on the moustache, you sausage swallowing spunk depot!"

        You guys stay classy, okay?
        toddbottom3
        • Please point to a post of mine

          Please point to a post of mine that is even remotely like your quote! The worst I have done is suggest that your ability with spin makes me believe that you're a professional.

          I think you owe me an apology. Please don't try to smear me by assigning to me some of the more offensive nonsense people direct at you.

          Don't worry. I won't be holding my breath for that apology.
          UGottaBKidding