Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
The Kindle Fire has access to Amazon’s library of 18 million e-books, songs and movies and television shows, and can run Android applications that have been approved by Amazon.
FORBES.com, GoogleNews.com, September 28, 2011 — A look at some of the major differences between Amazon’s just-announced tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, and Apple‘s popular iPad:
Price: The Kindle Fire, which connects to the Web over Wi-Fi networks, will cost $199 when it begins selling on Nov. 15. The iPad costs $499-$829, depending on storage capacity and its wireless capabilities.
Screen size: The Kindle Fire’s display measures 7 inches at the diagonal, while the iPad has a 9.7-inch display.
Storage: The Kindle Fire includes 8 gigabytes of internal storage, and free web-based storage for any digital content you get from Amazon, such as Kindle e-books, movies or music. The iPad includes between 16 gigabytes and 64 GB of storage space, depending on price.
09/28/2011 3:14PM ET
Thickness: The Kindle Fire is 0.45 inches thick; the iPad is 0.34 inches thick.
Weight: The Kindle Fire tips the scales at 14.6 ounces – slightly less than a pound – while the iPad weighs about 1.3 pounds.
Apps: Kindle Fire users will have built-in access to the Amazon Appstore, which includes thousands of free and paid games and apps. Apple currently offers more than 425,000 free and paid games and apps in its online App Store – more than 100,000 of which are tailored specifically for the iPad – including apps for Amazon.com ( AMZN – news – people ) and the Kindle.
Camera: While the iPad has front and rear cameras for taking photos and video chatting, the Kindle Fire does not include a camera.
Amazon Unveils Tablet That Undercuts iPad’s Price
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Kindle Fire tablet in New York, on September 28, 2011. The Fire may pose the most serious threat to Apple’s iPad2.Emmanuel Dunand /AFP/Getty Images
The New York Times, September 28, 2011, by Jenna Wortham — Seeking to stake a claim in the tablet computer market alongside Apple and Samsung, Amazon.com on Wednesday revealed plans to begin selling a color touch-screen tablet.
The Kindle Fire has access to Amazon’s library of 18 million e-books, songs and movies and television shows, and can run Android applications that have been approved by Amazon.
Named the Kindle Fire, the device has a 7-inch touch screen, weighs 14.6 ounces and is outfitted with a dual-core processor. But the most important feature may be the price. At $199 the Fire is less than half the price of the Apple iPad, which starts at $499. It is the first tablet from a major company to seriously undercut the iPad in price.
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, who showed off the Fire on stage at a news conference in Manhattan, said it was meant to build on the popularity of the company’s e-readers and appeal to a broader audience that also wants to browse the Web and stream music, movies and video. The device has access to Amazon’s library of 18 million e-books, songs and movies and television shows, and can run Android applications that have been approved by Amazon.
There is also a newsstand for users who want to subscribe to magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour.
“We’re building premium products at non-premium prices,” said Mr. Bezos. “We are determined to do that.”
Mr. Bezos also introduced a speedy custom-built mobile browser, called Amazon Silk, which he said was “cloud-accelerated,” combining Amazon’s computing cloud with the Kindle Fire device. “It’s truly a technical achievement,” he said.
Amazon plans to begin taking preorders for the Fire on its Web site immediately, and they will start shipping Nov. 15. Mr. Bezos said the company was “making many millions of these.”
The Kindle Fire includes a free cloud-based storage system, meaning that no syncing with cables is necessary. Mr. Bezos seemed to take a swipe at Apple, saying, “That model that you are responsible for backing up your own content is a broken model.”
This first model of the Fire sends and receives data only over Wi-Fi, not cellular networks. Like the iPad’s screen, the screen on the Fire has so-called in-plane switching technology, meaning that unlike some LCD screens it can be viewed from a variety of angles, not just straight on. Mr. Bezos also introduced several new e-readers, including the Kindle Touch, a lightweight version of its current Kindle models, with the addition of infrared touch features to the black-and-white display. The Touch, which costs $99, has no buttons, and users navigate by tapping the sides of the screen. The device is available for preorder beginning Wednesday and will start shipping Nov. 21. Mr. Bezos showed off a version of the Kindle Touch with 3G wireless connectivity, for $149.
In addition, Mr. Bezos showed off a new, nontouch-screen Kindle that he said was 18 percent lighter than the Kindle 3, included a faster processor and would sell for $79. It will begin shipping immediately, he said.
“We have many customers who tell us they don’t want touch,“ Mr. Bezos said. “We’re going to sell many millions of these.”
The Kindle Fire has its work cut out for it. Apple has secured a strong lead in tablets, selling more than 29 million iPads in the product’s first 15 months on the market. Its competitors have been less successful. For example, Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry line of smartphones, said it shipped only 200,000 of its own rival to the iPad, the PlayBook, in three months.
Amazon will also be competing with the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s popular color e-reader. Many expect the Nook to get an upgrade later this year.
However, Amazon has an ace up its sleeve that other tablet makers do not, in that the Kindle Fire will offer Amazon’s full spread of digital content, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner who follows the consumer electronics industry.
“Amazon has already nailed the hardest part of the equation: the content,” he said.
Early sales estimates for the Kindle Fire reach as high as five million.
“The tablet market right now is easily defined as Apple and everyone else,” said Mr. Gartenberg. “There is certainly room for another player, and a well-executed device from Amazon could do well.”
Now a Word from Master Inventor/Marketer, Jeffrey P. Bezos
Jeff Bezos unveils the Kindle Fire at a New York City press event, yesterday.
Amazon.com, September 28, 2011 — There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.
We are excited to announce four new products: the all-new Kindle for only $79, two new touch Kindles – Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G – for $99 and $149, and a new class of Kindle – Kindle Fire – a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199.
These are high-end products – the best Kindles we’ve ever made. Kindle and Kindle Touch have the most-advanced E Ink display technology available, and the 3G Kindle Touch adds free 3G wireless – no monthly fees and no annual contracts. Kindle Fire brings everything we’ve been working on at Amazon for 15 years together into a single, fully-integrated experience for customers – instant access to Amazon’s massive selection of digital content, a vibrant color IPS touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle, a 14.6 ounce design that’s easy to hold with one hand, a state-of-the-art dual core processor, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, and an ultra-fast mobile browser – Amazon Silk – available exclusively on Kindle Fire.
We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices.
Thank you for being a customer,
Founder & CEO
p.s. – Kindle Fire has a radical new web browser called Amazon Silk. When you use Silk – without thinking about it or doing anything explicit – you’re calling on the raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2 to accelerate your web browsing. If you’re curious, watch this short video to learn more about how it works.
Two incomparable geniuses duke it out…………..Bezos v Jobs
More On Kindle Fire v iPad
By Nilay Patel, September 28, 2011 — It wasn’t overly explicit, but Jeff Bezos took a pretty big shot at Apple and the iPad this morning while introducing the new Kindle Fire: he flashed a photo of Apple’s white USB cable, called syncing and backup a “broken model,” and went on to emphasize the Fire’s Whispersync cloud storage capabilities. The line and photo drew a big laugh, but it also underlined a subtle message within Bezos’ whole presentation: the Kindle Fire is going to be the first hugely successful competitor to the iPad, and Amazon knows it. Hell, by the end of it all Bezos subtly hinted that Amazon would sell out of the “many millions” it was planning to make, and he’s almost certainly right. Amazon’s strategy of “premium products at non-premium prices” is a great one, and the Fire’s $199 price tag is extremely compelling, especially given the general quality of the hardware and the wealth of content available to Fire owners from Amazon’s various services.
But while the Fire and the iPad will almost certainly be the head-to-head comparison for most tablet buyers in the near future, I think Amazon made an even bigger decision about competing with the iPad that went unsaid during today’s presentation: the Fire is almost completely geared around content consumption, not creation. It’s remarkable, actually — we didn’t even see the Fire’s email app today. That’s in stark contrast to the iPad launch, during which we were treated to interminable demos of not only the email client, but also the iWork suite; Apple took great pains to emphasize the iPad’s productivity capabilities. In contrast, all of the Android apps Amazon demo-ed on the Fire today were… games.
Of course, it makes perfect sense for Amazon to focus on delivering media and entertainment to consumers — the company is first and foremost a store, after all, and it’s naturally playing to its strengths. But in many ways the company is neatly sidestepping one of the central questions about next-generation tablets like the iPad: are they actually credible laptop replacements, or are they just for fun? The answer to that question is pretty important when the price of entry is $499, but it’s almost irrelevant for the $199 Kindle Fire – Amazon is nearing impulse purchase territory, the same territory that sold hundreds of thousands of $99 TouchPads and sells $114 Kindles day in and day out. It’s easy to sell pure fun.
Who cares about productivity when there are 18 million songs, books, movies and TV shows to be had… and you can play Angry Birds?
And it’s not just that all of the Fire demos today were about watching video or playing games — it’s that the Fire’s custom variant of Android almost guarantees it’ll never be compatible with Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich Android apps that are actually built for tablet use. One of the strongest early criticisms of the iPad was that it was merely a big iPod touch — criticism that quickly faded as developers took rapid advantage of the increased screen resolution and built an entirely new class of tablet applications. In contrast, the Kindle Fire is now and may always be little more than a big Android phone — but unlike, say, the Galaxy Tab 7, it’s a big Android phone intimately connected with the biggest and best content store in the history of the world. Who cares about productivity when there are 18 million songs, books, movies and TV shows to be had… and you can play Angry Birds? The Kindle Fire isn’t the first serious iPad competitor because it can outdo the iPad — it’ll compete with the iPad because it does far less.
A few months ago, Steve Jobs famously called traditional computers “trucks” in comparison to his small, sleek iPad. It was an amusing and prescient metaphor, and it’s one that works just as well to describe the Kindle Fire: the iPad might be a car, but Amazon went ahead and built a motorcycle.
Kindle Fire will prime the pump for Amazon Video
gigaom.com, by Ryan Lawler, September 28, 2011 — Amazon unveiled its Kindle Fire tablet, yesterday, Wednesday Sept 28, announcing what is expected to be the first widely adopted tablet based on Android. The Kindle Fire not only marks the first real competition to Apple’s iPad, but could also position Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos as a real threat to Netflix.
Priced at just $199, the new 7-inch Kindle Fire will likely sell millions of units as soon as they it’s available, which would be unprecedented demand for an Android-based tablet. But just as importantly, each new tablet comes with a 30-day free subscription to Amazon Prime, which means millions of new users will immediately have access to the company’s Prime Instant Videos service.
While it’s unclear how many of those users will choose to subscribe to the $79 a year Amazon Prime service after the free trial ends — or how many Kindle Fire customers are already subscribers — the packaging of a free video service on the tablet has the potential to be a game changer in the streaming video world. Until now, even those who subscribe to Amazon Prime might not be aware that in addition to free shipping they also get free access to more than 11,000 movies and TV titles. But making Amazon Prime Instant Videos available in the palm of their hands (and free! for a limited time) could convert a number of users over to the service, which is looking like the first real threat to Netflix.
That threat couldn’t come at a worse time for Netflix, which is still dealing with the hangover of a poorly communicated price change and the re-branding of its DVD business. Netflix’s DVD service is now called Qwikster, and its operations will be run separately — a change that has baffled investors and has many subscribers looking for alternatives. Amazon Prime Instant Videos could be one alternative they latch on to.
At $79 a year, Amazon’s subscription video service is priced slightly below the $7.99 a month Netflix subscribers pay — although for many consumers it’s easier to commit to a lower monthly subscription cost than one big yearly payment. And the service is available on more than 300 connected devices. That’s not as large as Netflix’s footprint, but it’s close enough that consumers will likely have access to both services on newer connected TVs or Blu-ray players.
So will the Kindle Fire become the gateway drug to wider Amazon Prime Instant Videos usage? At the very least, it’ll get the service in the hands of millions of new potential subscribers. With Netflix on the ropes, that could be all the new subscription video service needs.
This device is all about media consumption and it underlines Amazon’s core strategy: keep people connected to their storefront 24/7/365. It’s really a brilliant strategy and why Rim could never compete. It also highlights what has truly made the iPad so successful: iTunes. People may hate the software but, like Kindle, it’s a platform of media management, sharing, and distribution.
By Chris Ziegler, September 28, 2011 — Clearly, Amazon’s just-announced Kindle Fire isn’t designed to compete head-to-head with the iPad 2 on specs alone, but that doesn’t mean consumers won’t be cross-shopping the two this holiday season — and that means a comparison is in order. Of course, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is a more direct competitor, so we’re throwing that in as well. Amazon’s value proposition for the Fire comes from its vast, deep ecosystem and a highly-customized build of Android that CEO Jeff Bezos suggests will rock our world, so you don’t want to read too deeply into these numbers — particularly when the iPad starts at $300 more — but it’s something to keep in mind.
Posted by Joanna Stern on September 28, 2011
It’s been a morning of Amazon surprises, but amongst all the news of cheaper and Touch Kindles, there’s no doubt that the brand new Kindle Fire has us the most intrigued. Unfortunately, Amazon is being quite strict about actually letting us touch the 7-inch tablet and that glorious IPS display, but hit the break for some live shots, video, and our early thoughts from watching the demos.
Laughing all the way to the bank………………again
By Ryan Lawler — The cable industry is pulling an about-face on the issue of a la carte programming, due to increasingly expensive content rights and a weakening economy making bundles of network programming less affordable for the average consumer. That’s the word from Reuters, which reports that cable executives are negotiating with content providers and seeking regulatory relief in an effort to create smaller and more affordable bundles of programming.
Cable companies have historically fought against the idea of a la carte, arguing that allowing customers to choose channels on an individual basis would tear apart the value of the bundle. Since typical cable viewers only watch a handful of networks each, such a choice would mean that many niche networks with lower ratings wouldn’t survive if viewers didn’t choose to pay for them.
But cable companies have become stuck between a rock and a hard place: On one hand, media companies are demanding ever-higher carriage fees for their programming; on the other, consumers are being squeezed by a weak economy that threatens to make cable service unaffordable.
Programming costs have risen six to 10 percent a year over the last decade, Reuters reports. In part, the increase comes from broadcast networks demanding retransmission fees for channels that cable companies used to provide free. It also comes from media companies negotiating larger bundles of networks together, each of which generally comes with a higher price.
Those price increases are generally passed on to subscribers, but given the general economic environment, consumers are less able to pay than ever. In a research report issued earlier this month, Bernstein Research Senior Analyst Craig Moffett wrote that a large number of consumers have little discretionary income to spend on luxuries like cable:
After the necessities of food, shelter, transportation and healthcare each month, the bottom 40% of U.S. households have already exhausted all of their disposable income. There is nothing left for clothing… for debt service… for cable… or for phone.
The solution for cable companies may be to find ways to lower the cost of cable. As a result, they will likely need to offer lower-priced bundles of content, or to make some networks — like ESPN — available on an a la carte basis. Under the current model, all cable subscribers pay for each network, even if they don’t watch that content.
By Janko Roettgers — The BBC launched a prototype for a new form of electronic programming guide (EPG) today that replaces the traditional grid with automatically updated wish lists. That will allow users to organize their favorite TV and radio shows in the same way a TiVo handles subscriptions to TV shows.
Users of The Programme List can search for TV shows by title, actors, guests and other keywords and then add their favorite shows to a list to track all future air dates.
The list also contains links to episodes available online, and shows can be tracked even when on hiatus. The whole thing utilizes a very simplified UI, looking more like the unfinished work of a startup than something that a seasoned broadcaster would launch. The BBC’s R&D department explained in a blog post that the site is part of an effort to explore “how people remember programmes and how best to help them do that.”
That’s a laudable effort, but there’s something else that’s remarkable about the site: The Programme List is specific to U.K. TV and radio programming, but it’s not limited to shows aired by the BBC. Instead, it also lists content from the ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
Does that list sound somewhat familiar? If so, that’s probably because those networks were also partnering with the BBC for its failed effort to create a British counterpart to Hulu.com. The three broadcasters joined forces in 2007 to work on what was then called Project Kangaroo. However, the project was held up by regulators, and eventually killed in early 2009.
A project like The Programme List is avoiding similar scrutiny with a much more decentralized approach: It replaces a central repository with simple lists of air times and links to online resources, thus avoiding all the regulatory and licensing nightmares. In a way, that’s again very much the TiVo approach to content aggregation: Instead of licensing it from broadcasters, it simply empowers the consumers to find and watch content with less hassle.