Amazon unveils iPad rival

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Amazon unveils iPad rival

Postby sledge » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:12 am

Amazon has introduced its eagerly awaited tablet computer, with a price tag that could make it the first strong competitor in a tablet market that has been dominated by Apple's iPad.

The new device, priced at $US199 ($203), may have the biggest impact on other makers of tablets and e-readers, such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Barnes & Noble Inc, maker of the Nook.

"It's a Nook killer," said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more on websites including

"And it's a very compelling offering if you're not in the Apple ecosystem already."

The Kindle Fire tablet has a seven-inch screen, free data storage over the internet and a new browser called Amazon Silk. Amazon expects shipments to start on November 15.

Amazon also introduced the Kindle Touch, an e-reader with no buttons and a touch screen starting at $US99.

And it cut the price of its basic Kindle e-reader to $US79 from $US99.

"These are premium products at non-premium prices," chief executive Jeff Bezos said.

"We are going to sell millions of these."

Amazon shares rose 4.7 per cent to $US234.72 in midday trading, while Barnes & Noble dropped 9.8 per cent to $US11.92. Apple shares edged up 0.3 per cent to $US400.55.

Tim Stevens, editor in chief of gadget review website Engadget, said the Kindle Fire will be a hit.

We are going to sell millions of these.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
"People have been waiting for a tablet for 200 bucks for a long time and this is the best one I've seen so far," he said.

Amazon's cloud computing service, known as EC2, supports internet browsing on the Kindle Fire, a feature that will speed loading of websites and isn't available with rival tablets, he noted.

Still, the Fire has only one button and no volume controls, which may be "a bit annoying" for consumers, he added.

"If I'm listening to music, I'll have to turn on the screen to change the volume; same for movies," Mr Stevens said.

Analysts had expected Amazon's tablet to be priced around $US250, roughly half the price of Apple's dominant iPad, which starts at $US499.

The Nook Color e-reader costs $US249.

"Expect a blood bath as pricing will have to get extremely aggressive," said Mark Gerber, an analyst at Detwiler Fenton & Co.

I'm watching the outcome of this tablet War as looking for an alternative to ipad.
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