Amazon Has High Hopes for Its iPad Competitor

Analysts say the retailer is set to challenge Apple with a souped-up, color version of the Kindle e-reader.

Comments: 55

  1. As long as it's not Microsoft I'll buy it - otherwise will stick to iPad. (I have both Kindle and iPad - I take the Kindle everywhere because size and weight is great - love the iPad but doesn't fit in pocketbook and is too heavy to take easily.)

  2. I know that this goes against the faux storyline, but there's no competition between the two products.

    One is competing against the PC. The other is competing against e-book readers.

  3. Good luck to Amazon. However, the comment about iPad users buying it more for professional use than entertainment is off base. There are thousands and thousands of games for the iPad, and movies on it are sublime. Furthermore, you can read Kindle books on the iPad, in fact I prefer it over the Kindle experience (except in bright sunlight).

  4. apple could sell its ipad at a loss or cost, and still make tons of money in other ways through its apple store.

    as consumers, we need two or three companies with innovative products in the market place to pick the product that suits our need and the price we can afford.

    obviously,i am cheering amazon on.

  5. Amazon is not competing with Apple's iPad, it's meant to compete with Barnes & Noble's Color Nook.

  6. Tech writers have Apple on the brain. Amazon is not aiming at Apple.

    What tablet is #2 in US sales? Costs $250? Has a 7" screen? Carries the name of an ereader? Has no cameras and limited on-board storage? Runs a custom version of Android? Is tied to a retailer? In particular, a bookseller?

    It's blindingly obvious that the Amazon Tablet is aimed at the NookColor, and that Amazon is going out of its way *not* to challege Apple. But the tech press insists on hammering on the "Amazon vs Apple" story, which they have fabricated, simply because it makes better headlines.

    Amazon even instigated a controlled leak (in TechCrunch) that showed us exactly what the new tablet woud look like, obviously in an effort to control expectations. Still, even The Times insists on ignoring everything but "Apple vs Amazon." It's a poor subtitute for either journalsm or thoughtful analysis.

  7. “Souped-up” doesn’t equal award-winning and innovative design. The iPad is one of the world’s most unique devices. Right now, I can’t afford one. But when I finally have the greenbacks, my heart pounding lust for this flat paneled wonder will translate into a day-trip straight to an Apple store, which is a special event worth saving for.

  8. Being first with a pad is big deal. Being Apple is a bigger deal.
    The culture of cool is there and the iphone pioneered and secured that.

    I believe the Kindle device will run on Android...
    Compared to iOS from Apple I just don't see how the average person chooses the Android platform once they get a whiff of their friend's iPad or try it in Apple store.

    Only cut-throat pricing can make Amazon a player.
    How long can that last?

  9. Sarah Epps is wrong so often that it is difficult to figure out why reporters still quote her. Among other boners, she predicted the iPad would fail. Are journalists still interviewing her because she is always available?

  10. What nonsense. Apple will NOT have to enter at a lower price point as one "analyst" stated. Apple is a complete platform play integrating multiple hardware devices, far superior operating system and software, as well as all the content to purchase or rent. They are incredibly well designed products with the highest customer satisfaction ratings for product and service. This is not a threat in any stretch of the imagination. The kindle version will be a stripped down standalone product with an inferior OS and application offerings, and much lower build quality. Meanwhile Apple users can get the same apps on their iPad and iPhone with one purchase and take their content anywhere on either of their devices. Kindle will not even be in the same ballpark.

  11. This story is written as if Amazon has to defeat Apple to be successful. Instead, new tablets represent the growing maturity of the tablet market. Once Apple entered, the concept of a tablet, especially with a capacitive touch screen, became widely accepted. Naturally, others would have to follow. Seeing a lot of different types helps the whole market to grow.

    The story reflects the popular perception that there is usually only one product, or at most two, that meets the requirements of buyers for function and price. In fact, each person should carefully select what it is they want and need and then compare those that meet their needs on cost. Yeah, there is a lot of herd instinct in consumer choice, but the story tends to encourage that idea rather than recognize that tablets of many sizes are likely to be around for a long time.

    I would be inclined to buy a smaller tablet that is designed first as a reader and can also perform other functions, rather than the other way around. If Amazon can do that at a price point far below Apple, then they could provide a pathway for people to buy tablets who have otherwise held off (like me).

    Doug Terry http://terryreport.com

    ps: The story incorrectly states that Barnes and Noble "will" wind up like Borders without continuing success in eReaders. The expression should be "could" wind up like Borders. Besides, Borders made huge management mistakes, including very expensive expansion in Europe, that helped to bring it down. Management was looking one way while the world turned another. Millions of dollars were wasted not saving the company. There are 1,000 or more reasons any company fails, seldom just one or two.

  12. Without a web cam they unfortunately won't get my money for one. I certainly don't expect a tablet at this price point to be an iPad replacement, but it's core is still Android based. It would have been EXTREMELY convenient to put a simple, cheap, web cam on the tablet. Folks could sit on the porch and read a book, and also have the ability to Skype with family and friends about what they're reading at the moment as well.

    Leaving this one feature off of the device is a deal breaker for a number of people who will be able to find it elsewhere. I can get a Vizio tablet now at Costco for $289 WITH a web cam, download the free Kindle app, and have a much better device than what the new Amazon tablet will offer at around the same price.

  13. It saddens me that so many smart and innovative people have invested themselves in the creation of glorified toys that serve no significant purpose. I'd like to see the technical prowess and creative energies of the folks at Apple/Google/Amazon applied to our country's real problems. But I guess there's no profit in that.

  14. Problem is that for far too long, Apple's pricing policies has and continues to be "rotten to the core"! If Apple had not priced the original Macintosh and its predicessor, Lisa, so steep, it would have squashed Microsoft then. In fact, had Apple been willing to engage in some loss leader price slashing when the very first viable Microsoft Windows (3.0) came out, Apple would then been able to create the needed user base size to interest software product developers greatly!

  15. Your statement that none of the current tablet alternatives to the iPad are making are stealing any of its thunder is very wrong with respect to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The fact is that Apple is traumatized by this device which is so good and superior to the iPad2 in several respects (thinness and weight for two) that it has launched a campaign in several countries, including the EU, Australia, etc., to block its sales. Apple itself is saying that the Samsung is a knockoff of its beloved iPad, violating its patents. Nonsense, the only thing the Samsung has in common is the form factor, and that cannot be defended under patent law. The Samsung uses a totally different operating system, the open Google Android system. Apple has its own proprietary operating system. Furthermore, it is telling that Apple just announced a 25% reduction in orders to its supply chain, suggesting anticipation of reduced demand. Fact is that Apple is going to experience the same phenomenon with their tablet as they have with their smartphones, the iPhone. While Apple has been able to take market share from the behind the curve Blackberry, the fact is that Apple's initial dominance of that market has been grossly eclipsed by the various Android phones which now account for over 50% of the smartphones sold. And Apple will be hit by several new waves of competition later this year and early next year as Microsoft rolls out its new Windows 8 Mobile Mango software for smartphones and tablets, including Nokia's adoption of Windows 8 for its full line of new generation smartphones. And then their is the emergence of the Intel lower power consumption, high performance alternative to the Arm Holdings lower power mobile chip architecture now dominant, which will create a new competitive force in that market. This will impact both smartphones and tablets, as well as bring the next generation of ultralight and ultra-thin notebooks, the Ultrabooks, with hypbrid tablet, keyboard designs.

  16. As one who scored an H.P. TouchPad for $150 and love it. I can tell you the $250 price point will be huge. Everybody wants a functional tablet, but the $500 price point is too steep for most. Still most want a 10" tablet. Still like the article says the competition will be a win for consumers

  17. People see to be missing the point that this is for the consumer that wants to (or more likely already does) take advantage of Amazon's services. This is not for someone trying to decide between an Ipad2 and another similar device.

    Music streaming, ebooks, estorage, online shopping via Amazon Prime, are features that Amazon has promoted over the past few years, and this is the medium they want their consumers to use.

    I would justify the purchase of this tablet by because it voids the Amazon prime cost (which I currently have for free from their .edu promotion a couple of years back). $250 is an extremely attractive price for what Prime offers, and this is what Amazon is aiming at.

  18. Really hard to take Steve Jobs' quip about a smaller screen not expressing the software seriously when he brought us the iPod Touch.

  19. A touchpad with a browser and a file system would be nice. If it's that small, it needs to have a telephone and camera.

  20. Nook Color tablet/ereader from Barnes & Noble has been on the market for a year and sold millions of units at $250. Gives Flash, apps, videos, web, eBooks and magazines subscriptions with video inserts, and the best anti-glare coated screen on the market. Technology "leader" Amazon finally decided to catch up with the book store company by copying it's device.
    Kindle only supports eBooks in its proprietary AZW format. Nook, on the other hand, supports both DRM-protected and DRM-free ebooks in ePub format thus it supports ebooks from B&N store, from any other DRM-free source on the web, and from public libraries. 
    If you walk in with the Nook to Barnes & Noble store, you’re allowed to read ANY available eBook for free while in the store via free provided in the store Wi-Fi. 
    There's over 2 million of paid books and about the same number of free public domain books in Nook eBook store.

  21. It's just down to what you're willing to pay for portable technology and it's features. You want to buy a Ford or Mercedes, of Tablets?

  22. @pau4you, I'm the opposite. I don't understand how someone who has used Android 3.2 could possibly be happy with iOS. The OS is so much better, it's a shame there's no apps.

    @artie, if you think movies on the iPad are sublime, movies on the Asus Transformer are better. Same IPS screen but slightly larger, higher resolution, you can watch movies that have been encoded in many different formats, and you just drag and drop to get them on your device. Better all around.

  23. I have to consider myself a buyer-in-waiting even tho I'm pretty well tapped out on the endless treadmill of tech advances and updates. There's a life to be lived without my nose always pressed to a screen. Still, the Kindle's gray screen is a huge drag and I'll be interested in this latest Amazon offering. If it's $250, I'll have to consider it, which brings me to another beef...isn't it amazing how we all have gotten hooked and perfectly willing to shell out very serious money for these toys...$400 phones? It's confusing as hell to live in a world economy that is crashing around our ears and yet we're paying prices like these for amusements. Something's
    wrong here.

  24. I believe its a mistake to design a tablet based on the consumers current
    use. I wouldn't even consider a new tablet, unless it has decent web
    browsing. The current tablets browsing experience is awful, its like going back to dial-up.

  25. If it's smaller than the Ipad it will be dead in the water.

  26. Well, I agree that the Amazon has high hope for its competitor like iPad, as Amazon got many advantages on E-reading, but I think there is still need sometime for Amazon tablet to get many loyal customers, since the iPad have got time superiority!
    And the iPad is competing against the PC more, it's thinner, faster, and easy to take around for consumption like watching video&movies with iFunia, check emails, surfing net, play games...

    And at $250 is really a comparative advantage!

  27. I love it when experts tell me how I use my iPad. I do not check my email on it (and screw with the continuity of messages and replies on my computers). I also don't surf the web. It is the apps. Don't you get it? The superior iOS and hundreds of thousands of apps. I bought a Palm Pre Plus, just to try something different, and while WebOS was great, the app selection was abysmal. (And they didn't kick out all of the sleazy, trashy apps that Apple never lets in the door.)

    I don't care if Amazon makes a tablet. It gives those Kindle folks something else to buy. I wouldn't buy a 7-inch tablet (I read magazines on mine, and 7 inches is too small) and I'm happy with Apple. Everything works. That's what they're all about.

  28. Why don't they work together rather than enter into a win lose fight. It seems more and more like America is entering a new phase in the survival of the fittest attitude. Whoever has the most money, the biggest gun ........

  29. "Analysts" are wrong. Amazon is not competing with iPad here. Any customers who happen to choose a totally different kind of device intead of the iPad will be ones choosing the most appropriate device for them.

    Amazon is late to the party with a color eBook reader -- the competitor is the similarly spec'd out Nook Color, not the large-form tablets.

  30. The wireless iPad is the logical step up from the 4th generation iPod Touch. There are no real competitors for the iPod Touch. Having used the iPod Touch for my 'travel' computer for a year or so, I will be looking to get an iPad going forward for that same purpose. Apple's relatively bullet proof OS and App store make owning the iPad a no-brainer.

  31. Like the nook color, I will be rooting (for) it.

  32. I've got a kindle, which I find very nice to use, and an airbook for my pc -- also very nice to use. Ipad doesn't tempt me at all -- how many pc-like things do you need?. But a kindle with a keyboard on the screen -- so long as I can easily make it disappear when I'm reading my books -- could be nice. And a kindle that let me access the web a little more easily would be nice, too -- e.g. navigating around Project Gutenberg is very clunky right now. So -- upgrading in a few years from kindle to this new device is possible.

  33. I think I will wait to see what Barnes & Noble has in store for the new Nook Color, which according to reports will be out about the same time as the new Amazon tablet.

    It's pretty amazing to me that B&N has been ahead of the curve on this one, at least in relation to Amazon's ereader offerings.

  34. This is a 7 inch device that will NOT have an app store. It is not a competitor to the Ipad at all. Amazon is making an e-reader that can do video and social networking - they're trying to snuff out the color Nook.

    I'm not sure I see the point -- for book reading this device won't be as good as the B&W kindle. But Amazon, like Apple, has good customer data and a vision. Nobody got the Kindle ... until everybody got one.

  35. In my opinion i think that a $500 tablet will be at a high price for any tablet and that they should reduce the price because it is out of price range from many and that apple and amazon will prosper if they reduce the price because they will get more sold and they will get better profit and we will enjoy a well priced tablet.

  36. While a large repertoire of apps is a selling point, these are mostly impulse purchases. Only a few apps remain sticky and get used repeatedly.

    If a manufacturer can make a device for $200 or $250 which is a great e-book reader, excellent browser and media player and has a good productivity toolkit to allow for creating and editing of documents and spreadsheets, I believe such a manufacturer can be a player in the tablet market.

    Amazon has a secret weapon in the Prime Instant Video. If it allows access to this via it's tablet, and it can do the other things mentioned above competently it will be a serious competitor.

    The question will finally boil down to price. And if $200-$250 can be an effective selling price.

  37. I have 2 30 something daughters. Last christmas, I asked each what they wanted as a gift, one said Kindel, the other iPad. The Kindel girl had a iPod, and wanted documents that were not available to the iPad, for work, The other wanted an iPad because of games, and apps.
    This is the market. Individual needs will dictate which product is purchased.

  38. What hasn't been mentioned here, and this is important, is that with the iPad you can customize it to do so many things and serve so many different individualized purposes. Now, even though I am a photographer, I use my iPad for reading books, getting email, listening to music and podcasts with a Bluetooth speaker while cooking. I play a few games, and use it as a resource library for acupuncture and trigger points, Photoshop books, tutorials on web creation programs, and get the weather. It is the reference for a multi faceted life that most people have today. After all, it's the usability factor that makes it valuable. Amazon's tablet won't do anything close. It's good to have many excellent choices, so the everyone can get what works for them.

  39. I'm surprised at the apparent lack of demand for larger screens. 7" screen is just too small for anything beyond basic use. The iPad (which I own) is about the best compromise, but since day 1 of owning it I've thought that it would be even better if it was large enough to display a standard magazine at actual size.

    This would open it up much more easily as a magazine reader (Zinio is OK, but would be better without the panning and zooming), newspaper reader, as well as improving the book experience which I think suffers from too much page flipping at comfortable type sizes (or eyestrain type sizes with less flipping).

    Needless to say, every other graphical function from movies to apps would improve with a larger screen as well. About the only thing that would suffer is portability, but this means less to me on a day-day basis as I have my laptop with me when I need a real computer and an iPhone for everywhere else.

  40. Just a thought on analysts being any more able at figuring out the direction of things than anybody else. The Barclay's analyst, quoted at the end of the article, spoke of The Kindle as the first e-reader. I see to remember a small Mom n Pop operation showing up with an e-reader in early 2006. My memory is kind of fuzzy, but I think the name was Sony; or something like that.

  41. Smart move by Amazon. I love my eReader, but I use my Macbook to review books before buying them. I will probably never buy an IPad; I need a machine that can copy to DVD and process photos via Photoshop before emailing them. So, I could end up buying a new 3G/4G color tablet from Amazon and maybe a new MacBook in the future.

    Don't believe the locked-in theory. Many Amazon retailers have cheaper prices on their own web site. Two items I have purchased this month, an internet ready HDTV and an image-stabalization binocular were cheaper by 7% - the commission they undoubtedly paid Amazon. You still get your 2% reward by using PayPal.

    To avoid the fate of AOL/Blockbuster/Borders, a better delivery system tablet may just be the new Holy Grail for Amazon.

  42. Good critical article about Amazon's Kindle. What I cannot get about Kindle is how Amazon has 32,159 reviews (as of 09-26-2011). Are they over inflated number of review, isn't it?

  43. Like a lot of other commenters, I don't believe the iPad and the Kindle tablet are competitors. There's room in the tablet market for both, especially if one's half the price of the other.

    Somehow I suspect the Nook Color is less Amazon's competitive target than its competitive inspiration. TB (comment #34) is totally wrong when he says the Kindle tablet will have no app store. Amazon already has an Android app store (http://www.amazon.com/mobile-apps/b?ie=UTF8&node=2350149011) and you can be sure the Kindle tablet will be completely plugged into it. (Does Apple's app store have more apps? Sure, just like the Pacific Ocean is bigger than the Atlantic Ocean.)

    What I'm most curious about is whether Amazon will offer pay-as-you-go 3G connectivity subscriptions for the Kindle tablet the way AT&T and Verizon offer them for the iPad. The Kindle tablet will be a far more portable device than the iPad, but accessing all that content on the go will be tough if WiFi is your only option.

  44. No thanks, I'll stay with a macbook - price points be darned. Sometimes bigger IS better, and simply having a real keyboard is a dealmaker for me.

    Of course, if someone wants to send me an iPad so I can have a more knowledge-based opinion, I'd be glad to write a follow-up ;-)

  45. Taking aim at and hitting the target are two very different things!

  46. I'm looking forward to seeing what Amazon will offer. It's about time there's a tablet for the rest of us: those who prefer a capable and affordable tool to an overpriced fashion statement.

    http://homelessonwheels.wordpress.com

  47. The bottom line is the UI - Amazon is a rank amateur compared to Apple - so if the new Kindle is cheap enough, it'll bring in a few thousand more customers but certainly nowhere near the sales of the ipad. The evidence so far?

    Amazon has given away BILLIONS of impressions on its front page for 5 years to the Kindle - yet Amazon has NEVER announced any sales figures for the Kindle - most guess it's around 7-8 million meaning Apple EVERY QUARTER outsells its lifetime market share by 200-300% They couldn't even figure out how to let you read the Kindle horizontal view until the new one comes out (presumably). Amazon will mostly cannibalize its own ebook audience as people move from the feeble b&w to the color Kindle but oustide of adding a few hundred thousand new sales & it will outsell every other Android tablet if that's anything to bray about. They will easily sell 400,000 at $299 and if it's cheap enough - maybe 750,000 is it's priced below $199 in 3 months time but of course, that's pretty much what Apple will sell in a few weeks.

  48. Why do we have to have everything framed as a war? What a narrow and unpleasant frame!
    Both and all surely are welcome, offering their different advantages. And is it not beneicial to have more than one company inspiring improvements for all? (I would not, of course, imply that the iPad could be improved…)

  49. With the ipads hilariously overpriced at 600 bucks (plus more for warranty and dongles and cases), I think Amazon is smart to slide a $250 7-inch tablet running android into the marketplace at 2012 XMAS time. Amazon will sell tons of them.

    Anyone who says otherwise is out of the loop.

  50. It's hard to say without playing with it. Honeycomb is clunky and I don't see how 2.2 will be less clunky.... If I have to choose a cheap android tablet I'd go for one of the sub-$150 tablets made in china, but hey, they're all made in china anyway! Well, good luck to amazon.

  51. I would think who ever comes out with a glasses free 3D option at a decent price with a camera,web cam,and 4G of course will slam dunk the other.Despite the apps available.I mean come on more than a hundred thousand apps.How long does it take to go through them all?And how many are about the same?It's got to be like the internet,who goes more than a couple pages deep?

  52. I think the winner in the long the company that supplies the best and most content. I have an IPAD, but most of my "content" dollars have gone to Amazon. Besides Kindle books I purchase Audible books and the occasional movie. When I bought the IPAD I had a lot of impulse Apps purchases but have not bought one in about a year. On average I spend about $400 on content so over the past two years paid apple $500 for the IPAd but $800 to Amazon for books.

    If you put a browser on a color Kindle and sell it for $250 it will hurt IPAD sales. I am on the fence on buying my daughter a kindle or IPAD. For $250 savings I would vote the Kindle.

    It will be interesting if Kindle has GPS. This too could be a great revenue stream for Amazon since they could serve up location based Ads via Google.

  53. Barnes and Noble’s Nook Color is a great reader and tablet for email, web searching, and with enough power to do the things I do on-line. Plus, it's fun to visit the store and handle the merchandise before I buy on-line! With Amazon that experience is lacking. Come on B&N open up your reader we don't have to root your machine to enjoy the full Android market -- that is too much high maintenance and limits your sales!

  54. Barry -- you realize a very significant number of people use smartphones and tablets to be more productive at their jobs, right?

  55. A sure way for Amazon to shoot itself in the foot will be by trying to go toe to toe with the I-Fad. Amazon sells books and subscriptions to magazines, imitating the I-Pad will only and they'll wind up like HP and RIMs duds. I know the new K4 has been called the "I-Pad killer" - why I have no idea.
    All I want is an e-READER that I can carry in my pocket, not an E-brick.

    Make a strategy and focus on what you want to develope. Make it innovative so that consumers like it and they'll buy it. Focusing on playing catch up and you are DOA.

    Can't wait for unveiling later today.