“It’s on” in the tablet market for two technology titans, Apple and Amazon.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced on September 28 that the Kindle Fire will be released on November 15 and with it we’ve reached “an end to an ecosystem.”
What about Apple? The iPad 2 was released in March 2011 and continues Apple’s reign in the tablet market from the launch of the original iPad eighteen months ago.
Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony, HP and other competitors have fallen short in the race.
Amazon is actually releasing three new Kindles. Two are Kindle Touch eReaders with one version wifi only and the other wifi + 3G. The tablet contender is Amazon’s third new Kindle, the Kindle Fire. It offers “web, movies, apps, games, reading and more” according to its Website.
To compare like devices, tablet to tablet (or apples to apples pun intended), let’s focus on Kindle Fire and iPad 2.
Six critical specifications:
Screen size for the Kindle Fire is 7 inches and 10 inches for the iPad 2.
Storage capacity is markedly different. Kindle Fire offers only one size which is 8 GB, while iPad 2s are 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB.
Weight of the Kindle Fire is .9 lbs, while the iPad 2 is 1.33 lbs.
Battery life for the Kindle Fire is 8 hours, while the iPad 2 lasts for 10 hours.
Camera is no contest, as the Kindle Fire has none. iPad 2 has two cameras and provides both high quality still photos and video capture.
Browser is tied back to Amazon’s storage capacity strategy for the Kindle Fire, which introduces the new Amazon Web Services cloud-accelerated split-browser called Amazon Silk and relies on free Amazon Cloud storage for all content they provide. iPad 2 has Safari.
Five key features:
Connectivity options vary. Kindle Fire is wifi only. iPad 2 offers two options. One wifi only; the other wifi + 3G with data plan access available from AT&T or Verizon.
Video calls are not offered on Kindle Fire, while iPad 2 has FaceTime.
Apps are no contest, as very few will be available for the Kindle Fire at launch. Though Amazon is using Android technology for the Kindle Fire, they plan to curate their own apps instead of adopting the 225,000 plus currently available for Android. iPad 2 offers over 500,000 apps available via iTunes.
Adobe Flash works on Kindle Fire. A long-standing concern for Apple customers is that Adobe Flash doesn’t work on Apple devices including iPad 2.
Accessories are again no contest. Apple offers a wide variety of covers, docks, chargers, etc. for iPad 2. Kindle Fire is likely to catch up quickly on the accessory front, which is both lucrative and just plain fun.
We come to price, the bottom line which may trump all the specifications and features above. Amazon has priced Kindle Fire for quick adoption by the mass market at $199. iPad 2 ranges from $499 for the 16GB wifi only model to $829 for the 64 GB wifi + 3G.
If you are considering a tablet purchase for your winter holiday gift-giving, you have two different and appealing options in the seasoned Apple iPad 2 and the new kid on the block Amazon Kindle Fire. Your decision extends beyond the device itself to your confidence in the technologies behind them.