Amazon to Apple: You're Fired! (Updated)

Amazon to Apple: You're Fired! (Updated)

Summary: This morning Amazon announced a complete refresh of its Kindle line. Every single model costs far less than the Apple iPad. And one of them runs Android.

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This morning Amazon announced a refresh of its Kindle line. New models include the Kindle Fire for $199, Kindle Touch for $99, Kindle Touch 3G for $149, and a new low priced Kindle reader for $79.

The most anticipated model is arguably the Kindle Fire so that's the one we'll focus on. Running Android and Linux under the hood, the Fire is an all-Amazon experience with nary a Google app in sight. Aimed squarely at the Apple iPad for its all-purpose tablet and multi-media capabilities and the Barnes and Noble Nook for its color e-reader capabilities, the Fire will be out on November 15.

Amazon enters a crowded tablet market dominated by the iPad but filled with dozens of Android-based offerings from companies as varied as Samsung, Asus, HTC, Motorola, and ZTE. To stand out in the crowd, Amazon will rely on its unique content and partners.

There are e-books of course, but Amazon believes if all you want is an e-book reader then one of the e-ink black-and-white models might be better for you. The higher powered (and higher priced) Fire tablet brings you full color magazines (New York Times, Wired, and more), video streaming (through Amazon Prime, Netflix, CBS, NBC, Universal, Fox, and others), comic books, games (Angry Birds of course), and other applications.

Here's a look at the Kindle Fire specifications revealed so far, and how they stack up against the competition:

Amazon Kindle Fire Apple iPad2 Color Nook
Operating System Android 2.3 iOS 5 Android 2.2
Screen Size & Technology 7.0" IPS 9.7" IPS 7.0" IPS
Screen Resolution 1024x600 1024x768 1024x600
Screen Density 169 dpi 132 dpi 169 dpi
Thickness 0.45 in. 0.34 in. 0.48 in.
Weight 14.6 oz. 21.3 oz. 15.8 oz.
Storage space 8GB 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB 8GB + SD card
RAM 512MB? 512MB 512MB
Processor ARM Cortex A9-based TI OMAP 4430 dual core @1.0GHz, PowerVR SGX540 GPU ? Apple A5 dual core@1.0GHz, PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU ARM Cortex A8-based TI OMAP 3621 @ 800 MHz
Communication WiFi b/g/n WiFi a/b/g/n, BT2.1+EDR, optional 3G WiFi b/g/n, optional 3G
Battery life 8 hours 10 hours 8 hours
App store Amazon Apple Nook
Charger Micro USB Proprietary Micro USB
Cameras No 2 No
Email No (there's an app for that) Native client (Exchange, Gmail, IMAP, POP) Native client (IMAP, POP)
Web Browser Amazon Silk split browser Safari (WebKit based) WebKit based
Multi-touch 2 finger 10 finger 2 finger
Sync to TV Yes, Whispersync Yes, AirPlay No
Price $199 $499 and up $249
Updated: New specs from Amazon web site and statements from Amazon. Anything unconfirmed is marked with a question mark (?).

What do you think? iPad and Nook killer? Or is this something else entirely?

Topics: Hardware, Amazon, Apple, Laptops, Mobility, Processors, Tablets

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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34 comments
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  • RE: Amazon to Apple: Youâ??re Fired!

    You don't get the point.

    Apple will lower price to 399$. Kindle Fire is not going to dent iPad success (7 inch, no mic, no cam, no aluminum ecc). But the PlayBook is officially dead in the water.
    rogerdodgerTM
    • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouÃ?¢Ã?Ã?re Fired!

      @rogerdodgerTM This is Amazon we are talking about. If one company can compete with Apple it's them. Too early to jump to conclusions and say the will not dent iPad's success.
      briggins
      • Money doesn't talk, it swears

        I agree. Two hundred bucks forgives a lot of sins. This will put a dent in iPad sales. It will decimate the Android competition.
        Robert Hahn
      • B&N can save the Nook Color easily

        Release a new version that costs $199. As long as it does NOT lose a penny selling the HW, B&N will be fine. They can earn money on the content
        markbn
    • Re: dent iPad success

      @rogerdodgerTM Some people prefer smaller screens. Less weight, thinner, long lasting battery.
      Ed Burnette
      • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

        @Ed Burnette Battery life is an interesting quesition, my 7 inch nook color's battery life is very poor compared to my wife's iPad, but I don't know if that's the NC itself or the Android I'm running on it.

        I can say I don't prefer the 7 inch, but for the price it was was a good value.
        wzrobin
      • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

        @Ed Burnette
        It may not put dent in Apple, but it will definitely put dent to nook sales. Actually the title should be nook you are fired, not Apple. But since I know you are a google/Android fanboi, you chose to fire Apple and Microsoft always. :D
        Ram U
      • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

        @Ed Burnette

        A stripped down Kindle Fire is no match for the Playbook, which you can now get at Staples B&M for $250.

        Playbook specs:

        Starts at 16GB ($250 at Staples B&M stores)
        Front camera, 3 Mega Pixels
        Rear camera, 5 Mega Pixels
        HD video recording
        Built-in Video Chat
        Full Flash playback so you can watch videos on Amazon.com, Crackle.com and Youtube.com/shows, etc.
        HDMI out and can play full 1080p standard profile on high-end flat panels

        Also, the CPU/GPU combo in the playbook is the best of the field right now, see the Anandtech.com review.

        Within weeks we'll have QNX OS 2.0, which will have an Android virtual machine to run android apps, quite possibly including Netflix, which just opened up its app to almost all Android devices in the last week or so.
        sagec
      • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

        @wzrobin The iPad has an over-sized battery (actually 2 of them) inside, which is how it gets about 10 hours of life. B&N quotes 8 hours for the Nook but that's with wireless off. I haven't seen the Fire spec on that yet.
        Ed Burnette
      • Most however...

        @Ed Burnette

        Want larger screens on tablets, longer battery life, thinner and lighter. iPad 2 scores 3 of 4 against the Fire.

        That said, the Fire will decimate the Nook, the current #1 Android tablet.
        Bruizer
    • Apple will not lower their price

      @rogerdodgerTM
      Apple may sell previous generations of their iPads at a lower price but the current generation iPad will start at $499 for the foreseeable future.
      toddybottom
  • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

    I think it will be a great product for people that primarily want to deal with an Amazon-only world. I think this will actually hurt Kindle sales more than iPad2 sales. This approach has the same fundamental problem that Apple's approach does ... if you're not willing to supply it they have to buy a different device. Once markets mature (and consumers figure out what they really want) that becomes a bigger issue. Right now the tablet market is still trying to figure out what it wants to become as consumers use the initial devices and figure out how to incorporate them into their lives (or not). As a rule, though, locking down to one brand of product (whether it is Apple or Amazon) is limiting by definition. Now, like Apple maybe they'll make a ton of money and not care about market share. Who knows. After all, market share only matters to investors when you're not rolling in cash.
    Ididar
    • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

      @Ididar Right. It's like when people ask me, Android or iPhone, I ask: are you heavily invested in the Google world (GMail, Maps, calendar, and all that)? If so, the choice of Android is more obvious. If somebody has thousands of iTunes songs and videos then they would tend towards using an iPhone. So if somebody has Amazon Prime and lots of Kindle books and Amazon MP3's, going with an Amazon brand device will be an easier integration.
      Ed Burnette
  • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

    As an Apple owner I can tell you, I will continue using my iPad but I will also buy this device... iPad will be just fine, this new kindle can't do 3g for example..
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

      @Hasam1991
      You need two tablets? I haven't even found a place in my life for one. Well done.
      kstap
    • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

      @Hasam1991 The WiFi Kindle is way more popular than the 3G Kindle. Some people need 3G and some don't. Personally I got tired of paying extra for 3G hardware and data for everything.
      Ed Burnette
  • This is competition for the Nook Color, not the iPad

    If/When they come out with the rumored 10 inch version, then they'll have an iPad competitor, and I'm eager to see the price point they are able to come in for that size.

    My wife has an iPad, and I have a rooted Nook Color running android, I really like my Nook for the price, but I do wish it was larger. This will really push BNN more than Apple, at least at this stage.
    wzrobin
    • Totally agree

      @wzrobin
      Absolutely right. This will not dent iPad sales at all.

      This line will destroy all other eBook readers though.
      toddybottom
    • RE: Amazon to Apple: YouâÂ?Â?re Fired!

      @wzrobin Have you tried a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? It's got a bigger screen than an iPad and Apple says it looks exactly the same.
      Ed Burnette
      • Looks the same but doesn't work the same..

        @Ed Burnette ..it's not connected to Apple's ecosystem and it has a convoluted, confused OS that's not sure if it wants to be a tablet or a laptop and has just straight up bad inconsistent UI design..
        doctorSpoc