On Sept. 6, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stood in front of a packed house and fired his latest shot across the bow of Apple’s battleship. It was approximately one year to the day since Amazon surprised the industry with the announcement of the Kindle Fire, a low-cost tablet that had the benefit of Amazon’s vaunted collection of content and applications. With its $199 price tag, the Kindle Fire was an immediate hit, quickly establishing Amazon as a player in consumer electronics space.
Fast forward one year, and Amazon is not only introducing a new version of the Kindle Fire, but three other tablets meant to further establish the company as a viable competitor to Apple’s iPad family and Google’s foray into the tablet space, Nexus 7.
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The first announcement came in the form of a new Kindle Fire featuring a beefed up processor but much of the same in terms of quality and performance. What was more intriguing was Amazon’s next announcement: a new family of tablets called the Kindle Fire HD. With the creation of the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon is taking the Apple iPad head on, not only with the introduction of a 7-inch tablet, but also an 8.9-inch model that will rival the 10.1-inch iPad.
The Kindle Fire HD features a 1920 x 1200 high-resolution display, dual speakers, a front-facing HD camera and HDMI out capability. The Kindle Fire HD is also the first tablet to be released featuring MIMO technology. Amazon claims MIMO, with its dual-bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) makes the tablet 41 percent more efficient at W-iFi connectivity.
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Amazon didn’t stop there, however. The company rolled out an LTE version of the Kindle Fire HD, a move that was not that surprising considering that many tablets have already made the move to the faster 4G network. The corresponding data plan from AT&T gives consumers 32 GB of cloud storage and 250 MB of data per month for $50…per year. Such an offering is unprecedented by any network carrier, and it remains to be seen what effect this will have on other manufacturers and the agreements they make with cellular providers in the U.S.
The LTE model will be released in November. So, for now, we’ll take a closer look inside the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet.
Selling hardware at cost ....has the potential to be a very disruptive force in the semiconductor industry. Does it force apple to move more in that direction for iPad mini? Does it force MS surface to do the same to establish an ecosystem arround windows RT?
That's really cool, an excellent tablet for under $200. This will probably open up new segments in market hitherto untested. While Kindle started off as an e-reader it has grown to threaten the prevailing players in tablets. I bet Samsung will be the first to respond to this rather than Apple. Aamzon has put Apple in a fix now though there are always going to be customers for the Ipad, the newer generation don't hesitate to experiment.
I think Apple will do fine with its devoted fans happy to pay a premium to be fashionable.
It's Amazon that's taking the big risk at red ink in hopes of making it up by becoming Number 2 in tablets and reaping profits on Amazon.com sales.
If it becomes Number Four or Five behind Samsung, Microsoft and say Asus, they will be burning through the profits their other business units generate.