September 29th, 2011
03:10 AM GMT
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.
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?