September 29th, 2011
03:10 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – Amazon didn't just light a fire to the tech world Wednesday, it threw out an atom bomb –  a tablet for $199, less than half the price of the cheapest iPad. Not only that, CEO Jeff Bezos also announced a new line-up of better, cheaper Kindles ranging from $149 for a 3G Kindle Touch to $79 for the most basic model (versions without ads are slightly more).

When those prices were unveiled at the press event in New York, the jaws of even the most skeptical tech journalists dropped.

Bezos predicts they will sell millions – it seems like a safe bet. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they sell out.

Kindle versus iPad: Which is right for you?

Is the Kindle Fire going to do everything your iPad can? No. Analysts say it is not as well suited to creating content on the go. It is not going to be able to replace your laptop the way the iPad has for some.

But it will make it extremely easy to consume books, music and movies, which is at the end of the day all many of us care about. And Amazon offers cloud storage and a new browser, Silk, which may provide something Apple doesn't.

The rest of the tablet makers may have more to fear from Amazon than Apple, but I would keep a close eye on the rear view mirror if I were Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. Calling the new Kindles Touch? Hardly a subtle jab. In fact, during the presentation Bezos took direct aim at the need to sync Apple content.

Amazon isn't a hardware company, but Bezos and his team are innovators who pay attention to the user experience and consumer needs like no other company except maybe Apple.

It is a rivalry from which we consumers stand to benefit.

The new Kindle devices can be pre-ordered now and will ship mid-November for US consumers. No date yet for international markets.

What do you think? Are the prices attractive enough to make you consider a Kindle? Is it instead of or in addition to an iPad?

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Janet C

    Well, no camera, no microphone, for $199 to buy an lighter, thinner e-book reader is OK, but if compared to the iPad, I think the iPad have much superiority, not only have got many users, but also the hardware is better I think.
    Maybe to be a ereader and video&movies watch device is great! And want to know if all common format are supported, then I don't need the Aneesoft video converter to do converting for my movies enjoy anymore.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  2. Eideard

    This article's a joke, right? You know a little tech – and damned little marketing or market analysis.

    Bezos' new Kindle will make a bunch of money for Amazon for reasons that haven't a thing to do with Apple. Sit down in front of BloombergTV or CNBC, watch for Gene Munster or Mark Mahaney. Learn something.

    Bezos knows if he mentions Apple [or Google] he bumps the attention paid to his new device by 300% with biz writers especially if they don't know what they're writing about.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  3. WLT

    This has all the features that one would use 90% of the time. Uses Apps from the extensive Amazon(Android) market and storage on Amazon Cloud for books and music. Pluses are it's light weight and awesome bang-for-buck price

    September 29, 2011 at 5:45 am |
  4. TheGadfly

    I'm already getting emails from random older non-techie relatives asking about whether or not the Kindle Fire is a good deal. These are the same people who haven't cared about the iPad or even smart phones. And, yes, I've been emailing them back about how it's a good buy.

    If that's not a good omen for the Kindle Fire, I have no idea what is.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  5. James

    I'm sure Apple is just sitting back and laughing. This is just another made in China piece of junk.
    How much did Amazon pay CNN for this fake article??????

    James in Tokyo
    Typing on an IPAd.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  6. BCNrob

    The screen size is small for viewing movies and T.V. shows or even photos, and not sure on the processor for other applications. Apple ipad has the screen size just right for multimedia content.

    E-reader, checking emails, maybe some social networking, there will be a place for this device, but not for me.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  7. John

    James Wrote: "I'm sure Apple is just sitting back and laughing. This is just another made in China piece of junk."

    I hate to burst your bubble champ, but have a look at your iPad.... It's made in China to.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  8. Jeff

    How do you email photos (or save) photos?
    I still like uber-usability of iOS. I can't imagine you'll ever get an iPad owner to switch.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  9. iain newby

    funny how the ARCHOS 70 doesnt get a mention , with a 250GB hard drive ths 7" touchscreen tablet costs less than £200 and brilliant !

    seems that this good brand never get a mention and are not stocked in pc world, currys, comet etc.
    if they were on sale in such stores aplle would be out of business !!!

    September 29, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  10. MOJO

    I am waiting for them to do the firesale, just like HP. AT $199 the stuff will not move, and they will have to clear stock at $99. Because that is what it is really worth. HP has already proven that.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  11. Craig

    A bicycle and a Ferrari will both get you from A to easily and effectively is another question. Kindle users will be disappointed by the display, tablet buyers will be disappointed by the lack of power, camera, mic, screen size, lack of connectivity, plastic construction, lack of repair centres, lack of an ability to try before buying, lack of apps, lack of a real 3G data plan, lack of enterprise compatibility....need we go on? I'm sure it's a fun thing for little kids or old people but it's not even close to being in the same league as the iPad. Amazon made a critical error in openly calling out the iPad and comparing the two.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  12. Not Buying It

    Could somebody explain why othere than Apple and Amazon tell me I do. Why do I need yet another/new device when I have a laptop that will already display books, email, browse internet, and a whole host of things that I cant yet do on a ipad, kinlde or other. To be fair I dont own a ipad or kindle, some of my task could be done on one of these but I do a lot more that presently can't be done on one of these. So far there is nothing that you can do on a ipad or kindle that couldn't be done on a laptop with the right app. These devices tie you to a company and are to increase/ provide a repeated revenue stream.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  13. Cindy

    "Not Buying It"....I see the spellcheck on your amazing laptop doesn't seem to be working very well.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  14. Firoze

    Remember Google's iPhone killer – The G1 – it sank because Google had no support for an otherwise OK device. Neither does Amazon.
    With a 7 inch screen, looks like thew want to take the Galaxy tab route. And with reduced on the go functionality, no camera, microphone – it looks like Amazon's trying to make a fast buck from those who cant tell the difference.
    Question is will there be a Kindle Fire 2 ever, and will there be people queuing up at 3 am for its release- I doubt it.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  15. Hannahas

    Of course the iPad and Apple fans are going to pan it. They've already bought into the hype that there is only one way to do things. The Apple way. Which is kind of funny, given Apple's breakthrough in 1984 was to paraody the Orwellian novel in their initial Macintosh ad. They are no longer the "Think Different" company they used to be. Their products all run "proprietary systems" only applications and God forbid you try and switch your information from one unit to another.

    And that's going to be a problem with Fire too. But they're going to sell. And sell a lot. To a lot of people who are tired of the Apple monopoly. And it will be a good device.

    Until the next one comes along. There's always new technology.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  16. ComeOnMan

    Wow, I love my Apple products, but really? Why the hate. Amazon has a hit! Why to you need a 10in Camera? and Extra large iPod Touch? Use your phone if you must take photos. The Knidle does not need a mic or camera. Books, Movies & music plus plenty of Apps from Amazon, I have one on order. The iPad is cool but I rarly used the camera. Kindle has great price points.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  17. Artex

    They are two seperate products for two seperate types of users. You want the full function and wide range of options? Shell out the dough and go with the Ipad, Transformer, or Galaxy. You want something to read, view, and surf? $200 bucks sounds about right to me. And for the size – perfect for those that want something portable and passive. Great to finally see something like this, it will definately fill a void in the marketplace.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  18. Billy Gee

    Browser: Check.
    E-mail: Check.
    A few basic apps: Check.
    I think I might drop my iPhone's $100/month bill and get a Fire for mobile content access and get a cheaper, lighter, smaller flip phone for telco purposes.
    Plus people are not considering the education market: I PRAY that my kids, 6, 4, and 2, don't have to schlep 40 lbs of books around – just an e-reader with hyper-linked content.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  19. Kamui VII

    I'm not impressed. And this whole thing about not having to sync, you can grab everything back from their cloud servers... sounds like syncing to me, just that everything is SYNCED (backed up automatically) AND when iOS5 comes out, this wireless syncing will be available too. Does not support ad-hoc and 8 hrs of continuos reading with wireless off?! iPad has better battery life in general with wireless on! And the real kicker is "8GB internal. That's enough for 80 apps, plus either 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books." Thats where the real pricing difference comes from. Again, not impressed.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  20. Gabi

    For this price it is worth it. I have a kindle and I can't wait to try the Kindle Fire, it will make a great christmas gift.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  21. Dave

    I didn't get an iPad because it's expensive and does more than I need. I didn't get a Kindle because I don't want just a reader. I'm going to try the Fire and see if Amazon has this niche figured out. Done right, this will be a very successful product.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  22. samuel

    A leader will always have followers, and as long as he keeps up front, followers will never catch up.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  23. SixDegrees

    Comparison with the iPad is silly. The Fire isn't intended to compete with the iPad; it's meant to be a content-delivery device for Amazon's main products – books and streaming videos. The Fire is well designed to deliver this sort of content at a low cost, and Amazon will happily subsidize the price even further because it ultimately means selling more content.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  24. James

    Can you enlarge or shrink the image using your fingers as iPad display let's you do?
    That feature is a must have.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  25. Woody

    If I had to pick only one, it would the the iPad 2 hands down. But, since I already have an iPad 2, I think i'll probably pick up a Kindle Fire just to get the Amazon Prime videos on a tablet I can watch in bed instead of using my laptop as I do now. $199 is just low enough a price to get me to splurge on a largely redundant device. Any higher price and it would have been out of the running completely.

    October 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  26. Jacob

    It's pretty. I like it. With the music and film industries seem to be content sharing a monopoly with their peers, i's good to see electronics makers competing. Thank you for the thoughtful article.

    October 2, 2011 at 4:12 am |
  27. Paul

    I love to see the Apple drones scramble to find a good reason as to why they just wasted $600 so they can pretend they are cool. lol. Gotta love apple sheep.

    October 3, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  28. Seer Clearly

    Amazon sees the writing on the wall: with the economy in a continuous slide, the available money for cadillac computer products like Apple's is drying up. So is the money for expensive media subscriptions. If Amazon can capture that market at significant savings, it will own it. After all, now many unemployed people are going to be buying ipads?

    October 3, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  29. Brian

    Kindle Touch 3g isnt ad good as the old Kindle Keyboard. I was all set to buy it. Even called their tech support. They assured me that the Kindle Touch 3g did everything that the old one did. Then they changed their policy where 3g only lets you browse Amazon and Wikipedia. Order cancelled. One step up, two steps back. I will stick with my other reading devices. Nothing special about this device now to me.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  30. Marcelino

    This is not about Apple. Amazon is in the online retail business. With the Kindle Fire, Amazon is opening more cyber stores and gaining more customers. That is their business . I won't be supprised if they give the Kindles away for free to gain more customers to buy their goods. This is another great form of innovation.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  31. Kindle Touch

    I'm actually really enjoying the Kindle Touch. In my opinion, it's the best ereader out there.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  32. kat

    well this is the repeat of the i pod trilogy. there were many more cheaper MP3 players, but still i pod dominated, then later on apple matched their price as well. so apple is more than prepared for this fight. let the games begin.

    October 10, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  33. Linda

    Just watch and see what happens. I think you naysayers will all be surprised when you see that the Kindle Fire is going to sell faster than they can make it and fulfill the orders. A lot of people are looking for a better deal and even if it doesn't compare exactly with the "IPad"...people will buy it because it is more affordable...just like the knock offs of the ipod...How many people can afford Apple's outrageous prices when you can get a similar product for less...Not everybody has a lot of money to throw around, especially in this economy.

    October 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  34. Alex Mc Crindle

    I want to tell Something. Wy in latin America We can buy an IPAD or Iphone, Ipod or other type of product Apple, but we can't have all the use beneficts, like Purchase Movies, Music, Tv Shows.....? Or Latin America Exist only for support the cost Construction?
    Perhaps our money used to buy hardware but not the services, where these devices are highlighted. This is racism and capitalism. I do not think Steve Jobs was only interested in selling useless devices. I wrote to Apple but no one respond.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
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