Amazon takes aim at Apple iPad with larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD

“ Inc unveiled a larger, high-speed Kindle Fire tablet on Thursday for $499, challenging Apple Inc’s dominant iPad and intensifying a battle with Google Inc and Microsoft in the booming tablet arena,” Lisa Richwine and Alistair Barr report for Reuters.

“The world’s largest Internet retailer, which got into the market last year with a tablet roughly half the price of the iPad, will begin selling on Nov 20 an 8.9-inch version with a high-definition screen, that works off fourth-generation or 4G wireless broadband,” Richwine and Barr report. “Called the Kindle Fire HD, its price tag matches the current-generation WiFi-only iPad but its 1920 by 1200 resolution screen lags Apple’s so-called ‘retina’ display. At 8.9 inches, it is also smaller.”

“Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, taking the stage in Santa Monica, California, unveiled two 8.9-inch versions, both called the Kindle Fire HD. A Wi-Fi version will go for $299. Two 7-inch tablets will cost less. The updated Kindle Fire will go for $159 and a Kindle Fire HD version is priced at $199,” Richwine and Barr report. “On Thursday, the company also showed off a ‘paperwhite’ e-reader with a much sharper screen and longer battery life. The 3G wireless version that made digital readers mainstream will sell for $179 starting in October, in time for the crucial holiday season. A Wi-Fi-only version will go for $119, and the cheapest will carry a $69 price tag — undercutting the cheapest Barnes and Noble Nook.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Competition is only good when the competition is any good. For now, at these price points, Amazon has some compelling tablet/e-readers.

For sure, they’re still inferior in terms of hardware, software, industrial design, and ecosystem versus what Apple already offers today and has been offering for years, but Wintel long ago proved that quality and ease-of-use doesn’t matter as much as price to the great unwashed – plus Amazon’s offerings are markedly less inferior to Apple’s current lineup after today.

Today, from Amazon, we saw the first real challenge to Apple’s iPad hegemony.

You can bet they’re crunching iPad numbers in Cupertino this afternoon. Can’t wait to see your answers, Apple!

Related article:
Amazon announces slew of new Kindle tablets – September 6, 2012


          1. whaaaaat?!?!?! The mighty apple (notice I didn’t capitalize apple—there, I did it again) taking “cues” from the market. the mar that saw smaller inferior” tablets…why next thing you know they’ll be making the iPhone larger, just like………

  1. MDNs is forgetting that all these new kindles are ad supported to get the prices as low as they are. The $50 per year for 250MB of LTE will be eaten up with ads! This is simply laughable!

    1. MDN forgets nothing and they do not dole out praise for Apple’s competitors unless they believe they deserve it.

      Apple had better have a good answer or the stock price will get murdered.

      1. MDN is not infallible. Just recently they posted something about an Apple court case… But it was an old FOSSpatent piece from 2011 and not relevant at all. I haven’t seen MDN mention anywhere about the ads yet- which is a key point and deal breaker for many would-be adopters. After iPad mini nobody will even remember the kindle.

        1. Nobody’s infallible, but MDN has always called it like they see it:

          “Today, from Amazon, we saw the first real challenge to Apple’s iPad hegemony.”

          I, for one, will not flippantly discount that statement.

        1. Obviously, I mean following their “iPad mini” event next month (praying it’s real, not just a rumor). If Apple’s unprepared to answer Amazon effectively, their stock price will get murdered.

      2. RR : you are correct. MDN seldom gives competitors any credit at all. I agree with MDN, has presented some competition for the iPad and maybe even the iPad mini? I think the iPad mini will be more than Amazon can conquer but that’s not their goal anyway. They are just selling stuff. They lose about $15 per device but expect to make that up by selling e-books and everything else they sell at Hey, competition is good. It will only make Apple better. Or not. Apple needs competition otherwise they will eventually develop crap and that will be good enough for them. Besides, if can give people jobs good for them. I was taught early in life that it’s okay to be envious but never jealous. There are a lot of people out there that need jobs. People need to eat and pay bills. I hope that all companies do well. OK, maybe not Samsung!

  2. The bigger Fires look pretty nice, and seem to have some very cool features. Competition is indeed good. Not every good idea comes from Cupertino. Some crappy ones have too. (Unless you’re one of the three people who use Ping).

  3. You’re all on crack if you thought that Apple would have this market to themselves forever. Now there are reasonable competitors cropping up to chip away at the market leader. This isn’t to say that an iPad is anything less than the best in class. It’s a large future market that will redefine computing. Many will participate. The astounding market share numbers will eventually return to earth. Sorry, that’s the way that it goes.

    1. So many predictions and none have come true, every year we hear the same thing every time a company releases a new tablet, it’s the demise of Apple.

      Chicken Little the sky is falling and Apple is going to feel the pain.


  4. “Competition is good.”

    I usually really like MDN’s take… but this is just a fatuous cliché that is repeated over, and over and over. Competition MAY be good – and it often isn’t. The competition in the mobile industry pre-iPhone produced incremental improvements on banal, awkward-to-use clunk. Some people don’t need competition to push them into excellence.

    1. Apple should have had a smaller iPad out a long time ago… They will sell a ton of these if the price is right. In fact, I’ll bet (if the price is right) that they match or even surpass the iPad in sales.

    2. Seamus, consider it this way:
      In general, the presence of competitors will tend to incentivize a person or company to improve its performance/products. In contrast, a lack of competition generally invites complacency and a willingness to avoid the effort required to make your products and services better and more attractive to users.

      Does competition always result in better products? No. But I believe that it is reasonable to state that a lack of competition often fosters sub-par performance. If the new Kindle line-up makes Apple reconsider its current and future development and pricing plans for the iPad, then great. Because, in my opinion, Apple should have released a smaller version of the iPad at least six months ago along with the new iPad (aka iPad 3). Ideally, a smaller version of the iPad should have been released a year ago.

  5. Let’s see how ‘Apple Inc.’ responds to a ‘rekindled’ slew of competition. The post Steve Jobs era is here and now. Exactly how good are you at dealing with this ever increasing onslaught Tim Cook & Co? The next iteration of Apple products will tell the story and it better be good.

  6. The “trick” here is that Amazon makes 1% margins on everything it does while Apple makes 30% – 40% margins–yet Apple’s hardware is still very competitive in price. Amazon’s business plan is still a lot of smoke and mirrors IMO.

    A new iPad mini and upgraded iPod touch would fend off most of the threat here. As long as Apple keeps its holy trinity of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch humming along with the AppleTV/iTunes media store following in their wake, they will do fine.

    And Amazon still won’t admit how many of these things they have sold.

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