Posts Tagged Fire

Amazon Unveils New, Larger Kindle Fire Models

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled four new Kindle Fire models on Thursday, including ones with larger screens, as the online retailer steps up competition with Apple Inc. ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Amazon unveiled the larger Kindle Fire amid expectations of a smaller iPad from Apple.

The larger Fires will have screens that measure 8.9 inches diagonally, compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad. The original Fire had a 7-inch screen. The speculation on the mini iPad is that it’ll have a 7.85-inch screen. Apple isn’t commenting, but it has an event scheduled next week, during which it is expected to at least announce a new iPhone.

Amazon is hoping to make a dent in a tablet computer market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Amazon has been selling lower-priced tablets at thin, if any, profit margins to boost sales of digital items from its online store. As a result, it has been able to compete with the iPad on price.

The basic, 7-inch Fire model will cost $159, down from $199 for the original model. It will start shipping next Friday. The cheapest iPad costs $399 and the most recent models start at $499.

Amazon is coming out with a high-end version called Kindle Fire HD. It will have two Wi-Fi channels for faster transfers. That will be crucial for high-definition movies and other large files, CEO Jeff Bezos said.

The HD model will also have more storage, starting at 16 gigabytes, compared with 6 GB for the old Fire. The iPad also starts at 16 GB.

A 7-inch model will sell for $199 and ship next Friday. An 8.9-inch model will go for $299 and start shipping Nov. 20.

That means a device nearly as big as the iPad will sell for at least $100 less. The Fire, however, won’t have as extensive a selection of apps as the iPad. And while the HD models will have a front-facing camera for video chats, the iPad as one on the rear as well for taking photos and video.

Amazon also unveiled a premium Kindle Fire model, one with the ability to connect to the 4G cellular networks that phone companies are building. It will cost $499 and come with 32 gigabytes of memory and an 8.9-inch screen. A data plan will cost $50 a year.

Amazon also refreshed its line of stand-alone e-readers. Called Paperwhite, the new e-reader model has a black-and-white screen. It promises 25 percent more contrast. Bezos said “the whites are whiter, and the blacks are blacker.”

The Paperwhite has a light source. Bezos says the device is “perfect in direct sunlight.” Tablets such as the iPad and the Fire don’t work as well in bright light because they are lit from the back. Bezos says the light on the Paperwhite is directed down at the display. The device promises eight weeks of battery life, even with the light on.

It costs $119 and starts shipping Oct. 1. Amazon says it will start taking orders Thursday. There’s also a model with 3G cellular connections for $179. Amazon is also dropping the price of its low-end Kindle to $69, from $79. That will start shipping next Friday.

Amazon’s stock increased $4.93, or 2 percent, to $251.15 in afternoon trading Thursday.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Barnes & Noble cuts price of Nook tablets

Barnes & Noble Inc cut prices on three models of its Nook e-reader and tablet devices on Sunday, ahead of the peak of the back to school season and amid speculation that rival Amazon.com Inc is preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet.

Barnes & Noble, which has said the Nook has allowed it to win 27 per cent of the US e-books market, said it had slashed the retail price of its Nook tablet with 16 GB of memory to $199 from $249. Amazon is the market leader with about 60 per cent of e-book and e-reader sales.

The largest US bookstore chain also shaved $20 off its 8 GB version of the tablet to $179. Barnes & Noble lowered the price of its Nook Color by $20, bringing it to $149, the latest reduction for that model.

The new prices went into effect on Sunday. Despite the popularity of the Nook devices, Barnes & Noble has had to reduce the price of various versions on a number of occasions to compete with Amazon, which is believed to be preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet. The earlier price reductions cut into Barnes & Noble’s earnings.

The company, which has bet its future on staking a claim in the e-books industry, reported lower-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter and said Nook revenue fell 10.5 per cent.

Signs at one Manhattan Barnes and Noble store already reflected the new prices on Sunday

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire

Google has introduced its own Android tablet Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has good hardware compared to the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire has been on the market for more than half a year.  Amazon will likely introduce a Kindle Fire 2 soon. Nexus 7 has quad core processor, HD screen, front facing camera for video chats and the Nexus 7 is thinner and lighter than the Kindle Fire.

Amazon, Apple, and Google have cloud-based music services and app stores where companies sell you content. Amazon’s services work better on Amazon devices and the same is true of Google services. Amazon uses the Google Android software to power the Kindle Fire, but the company has chosen to limit the Android functionality of the device. This means Amazon Kindle Fire users can’t access the Google Play app market from their devices. I probably wouldn’t buy the current generation of Kindle.

There are lots of rumors floating around that Kindle will announce its next iteration of the Kindle Fire this summer. There are all kinds of rumors around that Apple may launch its own 7 inch tablet.

Nexus 7: ***** (5 Stars)

Kindle Fire: **** (4 Stars)

 

Areeb Majeed is the CEO of HackingTag Security. He writes for his blog TechInUs. You can add him as a friend on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Google ramps up competition in hot tablet market

WASHINGTON: The Google Nexus 7 heightens competition in the red-hot market for tablet computers, which is dominated by the Apple iPad but has a number of other players.

An ABI Research survey showed overall global sales of media tablets amounted to 18.2 million in the first three months of the year, up 185 percent from a year earlier, but down 33 percent from the fourth quarter gift-giving season.

Here are some of the major entries in the tablet industry, with prices for US consumers:

APPLE IPAD

Apple held 65 percent of the market in the first quarter with 11.8 million iPad shipments, boosted by the launch of a third-generation model and price reductions on the iPad 2, according to ABI.

The newest version launched in March sold three million over the course of its first weekend on the market. It features a screen of 9.7 inches (24.6 centimeters) and still and video cameras.

The new iPad sells for $499 and up depending on memory size and whether a buyer chooses Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity. The iPad is also backed by Apple’s online entertainment store iTunes and more than 500,000 free and paid applications in the App Store.

GOOGLE NEXUS 7

The newest entrant to the field, Nexus 7 is smaller than the iPad at seven inches, and much cheaper at $199. It roughly matches the price and dimensions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Nexus weighs 340 grams (12 ounces), runs the latest version of the Google Android operating system, and links to Google Play, the tech giant’s answer to iTunes and Amazon for books, films and other content. It is to be available starting in mid-July.

MICROSOFT SURFACE

Microsoft said this month it would launch a new Windows-powered tablet with a cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad that switches into “desktop” mode. Pricing was not announced, but some reports say it could be more expensive than the iPad, starting at $599.

It boasts a 10.6-inch (26.9 centimeter) high-definition screen and will be available with 32 or 64 gigabytes of memory. A model powered by Windows 8 Pro weighs 903 grams (two pounds) and will be available with 64 or 128 gigabytes of memory.

Surface appears to straddle the tablet and the “ultrabook” PC market, and will have access to some 100,000 apps for Windows users.

SAMSUNG GALAXY

Samsung has overtaken Amazon as the number two tablet seller, and up to now the largest maker of Android-powered devices. The South Korean firm shipped 1.1 million tablets, or six percent of the global market, overtaking Amazon, which saw an 80 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in sales of the Kindle Fire, according to ABI. The 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab sells for $400, but this week a judge ordered sales halted, saying it infringes on patented designs of the iPad. Samsung also sells a smaller tablet at $249, similar in size to Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.

AMAZON KINDLE FIRE

The Kindle Fire introduced last year grabbed a significant chunk of the market, helped by its $199 price tag at the start of the holiday season. Amazon does not release Kindle sales figures, but research firms say the Fire has lost steam since its launch. IDC reported Kindle Fire had just four percent of the market in early 2012, compared with 16.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Kindle Fire features a seven-inch (17.78-cm) screen and has a modified version of Google’s Android software. It does not have a camera or 3G connectivity, only Wi-Fi. It comes with a pre-installed shopping application as Amazon seeks to drive Kindle Fire buyers to its online store, which features books, music, movies, TV shows and games.

OTHERS

The BlackBerry PlayBook from Canada’s Research In Motion made its debut last year to desultory reviews and sales have been sluggish. Priced initially between $499 and $699, RIM has been cutting the price since then in a bid to spur demand.

The Nook tablet from bookseller Barnes & Noble at $249 offers an alternative to Kindle Fire, serving as an e-reader with access to the store’s e-books and other content, and a modified Android system for Web access.

PC makers including Lenovo and Asus have also been selling tablets. Other vendors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and LG are currently retooling tablet portfolios for mid-year launches, using Android or the Windows 8 platform.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment