Amazon made a surprise announcement on Nov. 14. The online retail giant disclosed that it had started shipping its Kindle Fire tablet a day earlier than expected, pushing up its long-awaited market confrontation with the Apple iPad and other tablet models. Of course, now that the device has launched, tablet buyers and industry analysts will compare the Kindle Fire with every other tablet already on the market or soon to show up on store shelves.
The market is getting so crowded that choosing from all the different tablets is becoming more difficult with each passing month. However, the most important comparison must be drawn between Apple’s iPad 2 and the Kindle Fire. Although the devices are very different, they will likely be the top choices among consumers this holiday season. Prospective tablet buyers should know the differences and similarities that make them stand out within the growing crowd of tablet models.
Read this comparison to learn whetherthe Kindle Fire or the iPad 2 is the right tablet to buy this holiday season.
1. Kindle: 7-inch display vs. iPad 2: 9.7-inch display
The first difference consumers will notice about the Kindle Fire and iPad 2 is their screen sizes. Amazon’s option comes in at 7 inches, while the iPad 2 features a 9.7-inch display. Those who want to be more mobile might like Amazon’s screen, while those who want to read magazines or watch movies will prefer the iPad 2’s bigger display.
2. Kindle: 8GB of storage vs. iPad 2: 16GB to 64GB of storage
The iPad 2 offers ample storage, ranging from 16GB to 64GB, while Amazon has been criticized for offering only 8GB of on-board storage in the Kindle Fire. For some consumers, however, that may be enough. But if you have a lot of video, music and other content, you will want to think seriously about choosing the iPad 2.
3. Kindle: $199 vs. iPad 2: $499 and up
Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the most affordable tablet on store shelves at $199. Apple’s iPad 2, on the other hand, starts at $499 and goes up to $829, making it one of the more expensive options available to consumers. Granted, customers get more with the iPad 2 than they do with the Kindle Fire, but is it enough to pay the higher price?
Differences in OSes, Cameras
4. Kindle: Android vs. iPad 2: iOS 5
Amazon’s Kindle Fire runs Android, while the iPad 2 comes with the new iOS 5. Although the Kindle Fire’s Android installation might scare some customers away, it’s worth noting that the device is running a heavily modified version of the operating system designed by Amazon. Does that make it better than iOS 5? That’s doubtful. But it’s at least better than the run-of-the-mill Android.
5. Kindle: No cameras vs. iPad 2: Dual cameras
To keep the Kindle Fire’s price tag at $199, Amazon decided not to include front- or rear-facing cameras. For those who don’t want to snap photos or hold video chats, that’s not a problem. But for those who do, opting for the iPad 2 with its front- and rear-facing cameras is the way to go.
6. Kindle: WiFi-only vs. iPad 2: WiFi and 3G options available
The Kindle Fire, like the iPad 2, is capable of connecting to the Web via WiFi. However, be aware that Amazon’s tablet doesn’t support 3G or 4G networking. There are versions of Apple’s tablet, on the other hand, that boast 3G connectivity on both AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks. Since tablets are designed to be mobile, the Kindle Fire’s lack of 3G connectivity is a real issue for some customers.
7. Kindle: Cloud storage vs. iPad 2: iCloud
Amazon has made it clear that it believesthe cloud is an integral component in the Kindle Fire’s value proposition. Customers will be able to store content in the cloud, stream music from the Web and use the device’s Silk browser, which relies upon Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, for Web surfing. Apple’s iPad 2 isn’t so heavily invested in the cloud, but it does support iCloud, which allows users to sync content across multiple devices. In the end, though, the Kindle Fire appears to win the day on the cloud.
8. Kindle: Up to 8 hours battery life vs. iPad 2: Up to 10 hours Web surfing
Although the Kindle Fire is a smaller device than the iPad 2, according to Amazon, it can only muster 8 hours of battery life when users are reading a book, for example. The iPad 2, on the other hand, can hold out for 10 hours when users are surfing the Web. Both devices feature respectable battery lives, but the iPad 2 wins out.
9. Kindle: Amazon integrated services vs. iPad 2: iTunes
Amazon has brought all of its popular services to the Kindle Fire. Consumers will be able to buy Kindle ebooks, stream content from Amazon’s Instant Video service and download tracks from the MP3 store. Apple offers all that through its own integrated services, like iTunes and iBooks. Although Apple’s stores are more popular than Amazon’s right now,both companies are offering compelling services worth trying out.
10. Kindle: Amazon App Store vs. iPad 2: Apple App Store
Unlike many Android-based devices on store shelves, the Kindle Fire will not support the Android Market. Instead, the tablet will support Amazon’s application marketplace. For consumers, that’s good news. Amazon’s store eliminates much of the garbage found in the Android Market, but still comes with all the top apps from Google’s store. On the iPad 2 side, the device supports the Apple App Store. And as consumers know quite well, the App Store is a winner.