Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. the Competition: A Spec Shootout

By  |  Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Amazon compromised on several hardware features of its Kindle Fire to deliver the most affordable mainstream 7-inch media tablet. Arriving on November 15 for $199, the Kindle Fire will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple’s iPad.

Since the market also contains several other Android competitors, can Amazon claim the number two tablet spot? Let’s take a look.


Tablet comparison chart

(Click the above image to see the chart at a larger size.)

As previous reports indicated, the Kindle Fire looks a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook because it was designed by the same company that helped Research In Motion build that tablet. The Fire is slightly thicker than the PlayBook, yet thinner than 7-inch Android tablets such as the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 or the Toshiba Thrive 7″. Apple still maintains the slimmest tablet in the bunch.

The screen on the Kindle Fire uses IPS technology (also found on the iPad), with a resolution of 1024 pixels by 600 pixels, which is in line with most current 7-inch Android tablets. The notable exception here is the Toshiba Thrive 7″, which uses a higher-resolution display.

In order to keep the price down, Amazon only bundled 8GB of on-board storage, the same amount found on the Nook Color or the Iconia Tab.

Amazon didn’t skimp too much on performance for its media tablet. The Fire packs an unspecified dual-core processor (probably 1GHz), but there’s no word on the amount of RAM. What Amazon did skimp on are cameras–there’s no front or back camera, and there’s no MicroSD card slot (Amazon is banking on cloud storage), no HDMI, GPS, or 3G capability.

For Media Consumption Only?

Gone is the time when the iPad was the most affordable tablet, and Android manufacturers struggled to even match its price. By removing all the above features, Amazon managed to keep the price of the Fire at $199–a remarkable feat when you consider that the closest competitor (in price, but not features), the Nook Color, costs $50 more. Lenovo’s tablet is also about $50 more expensive, but only packs a single core processor, although for your extra bucks you do get dual cameras, GPS, and 16GB of storage.

The lack of cameras, GPS, expandable storage or even Bluetooth clearly sets the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet apart as a media consumption-only tablet.

You will be able to download various productivity apps from the bundled Amazon Appstore, but the main purpose of the tablet, given its low entry price, is to consume content from Amazon, whether it’s movies, books, magazines, music, or games. For that purpose, even with missing hardware features, Amazon has a very interesting proposition for casual customers as an alternative to the iPad.

[This post republished from PCWorld.]

 
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14 Comments For This Post

  1. Seabasstin Says:

    The chart is actually wrong about the iPad I think unless they are only comparing the wifi iPad; it comes with 3G, therefore they should put the price range, as well as storage range for all the devices.
    otherwise the chart is pretty worthless, as it compares Apples to prunes.

  2. Infogravity Says:

    Great share, interesting read. Will look into this more..

  3. John Baxter Says:

    Sebasstin, the iPad as priced in the chart does not have 3G. Cheapest with 3G is $629.

  4. Android Buzz Says:

    Thanks for the specs!

    For me the camera and 3G aren't important factors. People hardly use the webcam function and you can always tether to your cell phone when not in a wifi zone.

    Looking forward to getting my hands on one! :-)

  5. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Kindle Fire competes with iPod touch at the same price point, not iPad, which sells in the PC market. People choose between an iPad and a Windows notebook in the same stores, to do the same task: run PC apps. That is all iPad is designed to do. That is why it has so much in common with a Mac.

    $200, phone apps, media player, reader, 8GB, Wi-Fi only, focus on consumption … am I talking about Kindle Fire or iPod touch? That is not iPad. Also, if Kindle Fire was a huge hit and Apple wanted to compete for 7-inch $200 devices, Apple would just make an iPod touch with a stretched screen, and that would be the same as Kindle Fire. iPad apps cannot be run in half size, you would have to run phone apps blown up like Kindle Fire.

    The big change here is Kindles now have color and touch, like an iPod touch. iPad is going to roll along without even blinking. Kindle is also going to roll along without blinking. I would bet you that more Kindle Fires will be sold to iPad users in addition to iPad than are sold to users instead of iPad. In other words, Kindle Fire is a better iPad accessory than replacement. Kindle Fire is an even better Kindle eInk replacement, though.

    People work all day on iPads at their jobs, especially people who aren't typically at desks. The idea that you would do that with a Kindle Fire is crazy. They are not comparable devices. We have tablet phones, tablet media players, tablet PC's, graphics tablets … all are different devices. Everything will have touch soon. A 60-inch TV with touch will not replace an iPad or Kindle either.

    iPad is going to outsell HP all by itself this quarter. All of HP. iPad's mission is to do to the low-end PC market what Intel Mac did to the high-end PC market: completely murder it. It's a whole different story from Kindle Fire.

  6. The_Heraclitus Says:

    "the Kindle Fire will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple’s iPad."

    Umm, no. You need to understand what a "market" is. Amazon is aiming at a TOTALLY different market than Apple did for the iPad..

  7. David Baker Says:

    You didn't even compare all the 7" pads in the low price category, like the Archos, or any of the Samsung tablets. If you are going to make a comparison compare all of the tablets, especially ones you can buy right now. Just sayn

  8. Auctioneer Says:

    Looks good. can't wait to try it out

  9. James Murphey Says:

    Veiwsonic VPAD10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Maggie Says:

    Do you know for certain if you'll be able to tether your phone to the Kindle Fire to get 3G? I have been trying to find the answer to that question without success.

  11. nylne Says:

    The Kindle Fire is Hot!

  12. donna Says:

    can I tether the fire to my NON=smart phone w. wifi? (Straighttalk unlimited))

  13. merudh patel Says:

    This is nice. I haven't heard of the Kindle Fire before but this one definitely has some great specs. I will find it in our local stores and purchase it right away.

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