Amazon: the new Apple?

Amazon - the new Apple?

The launch of this tablet is a clear challenge to the iPad. Smaller than most other tablets on the market (7 inches), it runs Android and if you are already an Amazon customer, downloading your books, music and film will be even easier.

In the US it will be priced at $199 (approximately £130)–considerably cheaper than the iPad 2, which retails at $499 for the basic model. Initially it will be a loss-maker for Amazon but this could be offset by increased purchases through the device.

From the BBC news video, it looks as though it has a similar oleophobic-type glass screen like other tablets. One of the strongest features of the original Kindle is its paper-like screen – perhaps Amazon are hoping that we will also purchase one of the new lower-price e-reader only Kindles as well. Choosing Android as the OS is an expected move given its dominance in the smartphone OS stakes.

Being able to sync your apps and data across multiple devices is becoming increasingly important to users. The full features are on the Amazon.com website and I have to say, they are mouth-watering – dual-core processor, Amazon Silk (cloud-accelerated browser), Flash support and free cloud storage to name a few.

As an iPad-Android smartphone owner, I personally don’t find the Kindle Fire tempting at this stage. The screen size is too small for me and I’m also not sure how much more of my life I’d like to hand over to Google and Amazon.

However, I do think that it will have enormous appeal to many people. Its size and price will be attractive to parents who want to give their children an entry-level tablet device, and I can see it fitting nicely in many handbags.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this launch is that Amazon are clearly moving away from being just an online retailer, to being more like Apple (albeit in the reverse way). Even Jeff Bezos’ launch of the Kindle Fire had more than a whiff of the Steve Jobs about it – big screen, audience, one man.

How long will it be before we see the Kindle phone or music player? It is not impossible for Amazon to take these steps if the Kindle Fire sets the world alight.

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