iPad vs. Kindle Fire HD: Should Apple be worried about Amazon?

In an aggressive move, the e-tail giant unveils high-definition tablets that are dramatically cheaper than the iPad — but are arguably just as good

The new Kindle Fire HD is tested at a press conference on Sept. 6: Amazon's budget-friendly tablet may put pressure on competitors to lower their prices, too.
(Image credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Can the Kindle be king? Last week, Amazon unveiled an iPad-sized tablet called the Kindle Fire HD, which boasts a much more attractive price tag than Apple's market-leading tablet. (For example: The entry-level iPad costs $500 with just WiFi — a similar Kindle Fire HD costs just $300.) It's all part of Amazon's strategy to get devices in people's hands, even if the gadgets are sold at a loss, so the company can make money later by selling customers books, music, magazines, and movies that they'll consume on their tablets. "We want to make money when people use our device," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, "not when they buy our devices." The original Kindle Fire has already carved a niche for itself as an affordable alternative to the iPad. Now that Amazon is selling new 8.9-inch models for as little as $300, should Apple be worried?

The Kindle Fire HD will give the iPad fits: The new Kindle Fire HD won't just be a consumer favorite, says Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at ZDNet. It'll be a "business favorite as well." For instance, the new "top-of-the-line" device comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Exchange, which lets business users sync email, contacts, and calendars right out of the box. "I couldn't help thinking that [the Kindle Fire HD] is what RIM's Blackberry PlayBook should have been… and wasn't."

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