Amazon began shipping its Kindle Fire tablet device Nov. 14, a day early. The device will compete against the Nook Tablet and Apple iPad for holiday dollars.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) began shipping its
Kindle Fire Nov. 14, one day earlier than expected. That gives the tablet a bit
more separation from Barnes & Noble's (NYSE:BKS) Nook Tablet, which is
slated to arrive later this week.
The $199 Kindle Fire faces not only the
Nook Tablet, but also Apple's iPad, in the quest for shoppers' holiday dollars.
Amazon is betting big that users (and developers
) will gravitate toward the 7-inch
Fire's full-color screen, dual-core processor and easy access to its online
storefront of digital content.
"What we really built is a fully
integrated media service," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Wired
Nov. 13. "Hardware is a crucial ingredient
in the service, but it's only a piece of it."
Indeed, much of Amazon's recent
activity has built to this moment. Over the past several quarters, the company
has released an online music player, a branded Android app store and streaming
video via its Amazon Prime service. That array of offerings could give Amazon
the footing needed to push back against the iPad, which offers music, video, ebooks
and apps via Apple's iTunes and App Store.
In any case, the Fire could prove a
significant bestseller. Shopping and reviews Website Retrevo.com recently
sampled some 1,000 online individuals about their opinion of the Fire. Of those
surveyed, some 44 percent said they'd consider purchasing "a 7-inch tablet made
by Amazon" over Apple's iPad 2. Another 44 percent said they "didn't know
enough about the Amazon tablet" to make that decision, and 12 percent said
"they'd still buy an iPad."
Amazon may need to work, however, to
establish the Fire as separate from its popular line of Kindle e-reader
"The Amazon Kindle is a strong brand
and a popular e-reader," Andrew Eisner, the Website's director of community and
content, wrote in a Nov. 9 research note. "However, it looks like Amazon may
have to spend some marketing dollars if it wants consumers to perceive Kindle
as a tablet, too. In this study, which was conducted after Amazon announced the
Fire, the majority of respondents (35 percent) thought the Kindle Fire was an
Sometime around Nov. 19, Amazon rival
Barnes & Noble plans to release the Nook Tablet, a 7-inch device with a
dual-core processor, 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. Unlike Amazon, the
bookseller won't offer any streaming services of its own, instead relying on
applications from Netflix, Pandora and other partners to port content onto the
During a Nov. 7 event in New York City,
Barnes & Noble executives claimed that the Nook Tablet's storage capacity
and IPS-laminated screen made it superior to Amazon's offering. As with all
such commercial endeavors, though, sales numbers will prove the ultimate
arbiter of which device triumphs in the long run. And Amazon, by releasing the
Kindle Fire a day early, decided to give itself a slight head start.
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