Thursday's unveiling by Amazon of its new Kindle Fire surprised some in the tech world because the Kindle Fire's features make it clear the product designers are no longer satisfied with settling for second place behind Apple's iPad.
The new Kindle will come in two sizes, an 8.9-inch display and a 7-inch display. The 8.9-inch comes equipped with 16GB and will be sold for $299, that's $100 cheaper than Apple's iPad 2, which PC Mag reports has a lower-resolution display than the Kindle Fire HD. The closest comparison -- in terms of resolution -- for the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire might be Apple's newest iPad, which will set customers back $629.
The 250MB data plan for the Amazon Fire will cost $49.99, $130 less than the same amount of data would cost for an iPad. The 32GB Kindle Fire, enabled with 4G LTE, will cost $499, $230 less than the closest iPad. Gizmodo reports that AT&T's data plan also allows customers up to 20GB in cloud storage, although that unfortunately counts against the monthly 250MB.
"With such a big price jump, Amazon is saying that this is not a wireless device for the sake of just wireless, but it is testing the relationship it will have with carriers" and its competitors, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research according to Computer World. "The $499 product means that data plans are a part of Amazon's future, which also might suggest they will produce a smartphone too."
McQuivey also said that the higher price means that Amazon "had to raise the hardware price" after Apple's pricing.
Computer World reported last month that the original Kindle Fire tablet sold out after less than 12 months on the market. That's not good news for Apple, especially now that Thursday's Amazon announcement unveiled a product superior to the original Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire HD will be sold with twice the RAM power of the Kindle Fire, which will make it 40 percent faster.
The 8.9-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD also comes with two antennae's to the iPad's one and weighs in at three ounces less. The Kindle Fire HD speakers broadcast in stereo sound, unlike the iPad which broadcasts mono. The Wi-Fi capabilities of the two devices are the same, although the iPad does have a larger screen at 9.7 inches and can brag about a better screen resolution (2,048 by 1,536 to the Kindle Fire HD's 1,920 by 1,200).