Kindle Fire or iPad

Serious competition in the tablet market for winter holiday gift-giving.

 “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.  

John Go October 07, 2011 at 03:13 AM
- Kindle Fire doesn't have microSD slot that, for example, Nook Color has thus it is stuck with 6 GB usable internal storage unlike Nook Color that can get up to 32 GB card in. Kindles are made to be almost like a "dumb terminal" of the past to make sure you're tied up to Amazon's storage on the web (for which you need Wi-Fi connection to get to) and you can only store content you get from Amazon there, not other files. Quoting Amazon on Kindle Fire: "Free cloud storage for all Amazon content". Get it, Amazon content? - The stats of how long the battery can last (Kindle Fire theory is 8 hours) are taken with Wi-Fi off. You can only imaging how much less Kindle Fire battery will last if you use it to access content from their Cloud storage over Wi-Fi. - Amazon can spy on your web activity through their new cloud-integrated web browser of Kindle Fire. - VERY IMPORTANT – lack of microSD slot means that if you decide to root your Kindle Fire, you’ll have to root the actual device thus there will be no coming back. On Nook Color, you can make it boot from a “rooted” microSD card and if you want to get back to the original Nook you can just take out the card and reboot.
John Go October 07, 2011 at 03:13 AM
- Kindle Fire doesn't have a camera. - Kindle Fire has about 70% less usable screen area than iPad 2. - Kindle doesn't support eBooks in ePub format that is the most used format in the world. - Kindle app store contains only Amazon approved apps and it does not include (and will not include) Netflix app that iPad has and Nook Color is getting thus again you're stuck with Amazon content only. - Amazon confirmed that you cannot download anything to Kindle Fire when traveling abroad. I'd recommend waiting for a couple of weeks as Nook Color 2 is rumored to be released by Barnes & Noble.
Lydia Patrick October 07, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Thank you all for these additional insights about not only iPad 2, the to-be-released Kindle Fire but also Barnes & Noble's Nooks. Lots of good food for thought. The bottom line is which device will best meet your needs and the first step is determining what those needs are. Someone else wrote about selecting a tablet for an older relative whose primary interests are email and photo sharing, as well as reading and watching movies. My thought, based on functionality alone excluding price considerations, is the iPad unless they have already purchased lots of ebooks and movies from Amazon as John Go commented above.
Lane H February 27, 2012 at 03:10 AM
can you use the Ilario keyboard with kindle fire
Lane H February 27, 2012 at 03:11 AM
i meant ipad


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