Online retailer Amazon began shipping its Kindle Fire tablet on Nov.14. The product, which sells at $199, features a vibrant color touch screen, a powerful dual-core processor and a new browser - Amazon Silk - as well as the Amazon Web Services cloud. Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime that allows streaming access to Amazon's multimedia library of movies and TV shows. The device is touted to be an iPad killer due to its strong ecosystem and a fan following similar to Apple.
However, in the real sense, the Kindle Fire may not kill the iPad. Here are six reasons why:
* Kindle Fire's user interface lacks the crispness of Apple's iPad as it is built on the older generation of Android systems (Android 2.2 Froyo). Amazon has not incorporated the changes that came with Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich
* Kindle Fire doesn't have a camera, which may disappoint photo geeks. It also takes away the ability to make video calls, considered a must-have feature in today's tablets. The iPad 2 has a VGA camera on the front and a 720p camera at the back
* Amazon has not fitted sensors such as a Global Positioning System (GPS), a gyroscope and a magnetometer, thereby making the device less useful for location-based services
* Kindle Fire lacks 3G support and keep users confined to a Wi-Fi world. On the other hand, the iPad 2 comes with both Wi-Fi and 3G versions and has a three-axis gyroscope
* Apple has a better processor for the iPad 2 in the A5, which can dynamically adjust its frequency to save battery life. The Kindle Fire has a 1GHz TI OMAP chip
* The iPad 2 scores over Amazon's product in terms of battery life. It offers up to 10 hours of operation on a single charge, while the Kindle Fire only offers 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off
However, Amazon has strong content to offset these shortcomings and mainly targets customers who use tablets lightly and have a tight budget. The tablet should definitely appeal to an entertainment hungry audience, as Amazon will integrate the tablet tightly with its Cloud services that sells books, movies and music, providing stiff competition to Apple in terms of content.
Following is a comparison of iPad 2 and Kindle Fire:
Amazon Kindle Fire
9.7 1024x768, 132 ppi pixel density, capacitive touch screen
7 Multi-touch 1024x600 display with 169 ppi
241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm
190 x 120 x 11.4 mm
A5 dual-core processor 1GHz
1GHz TI OMAP 4 dual-core processor
16/32/64GB, 512 MB RAM
VGA camera front; 720p camera back
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
About 500,000 (90,000 for iPad)
25 watt-hour battery that lasts up to 10 hours
Up to 8.0 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.