Amazon Revamp Puts Apple On Notice - InformationWeek

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Amazon Revamp Puts Apple On Notice

Amazon announced some excellent new Kindle Fire tablets and phenomenal pricing on Thursday. But make no mistake: Its battle with Apple centers on content services.

As much as Amazon is encroaching on a space Apple has thoroughly dominated for the past 2.5 years (putting aside the recent success of Google's Nexus 7), Amazon has also done well in the Android tablet market. That's largely thanks to the Kindle Fire's $199 price point and the device's surprisingly perfect size. No other Android tablet manufacturer has managed to compete as effectively as Amazon has.

"People don't want gadgets anymore," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declared. "They want services."

Geek Stuff
Then Bezos momentarily geeked out on the new Paperwhite's front-lit display, with its patented nano-imprinted light guide; the Kindle Fire HD's IPS (in-plane switching) display and its laminated touch sensor to eliminate air gaps, and thus, glare. He revealed that the Kindle Fire HD would have dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz WiFi (like the iPad 3), dual antennas (the iPad 3 and Galaxy Nexus 7 each have one), and support for MIMO (where it stands alone). On this last point, Bezos bragged that only some high-end laptops incorporate MIMO--an intelligent antenna technology that helps increase wireless performance and range--because of the computational power it requires.

Bezos explained the gooey regard for the gadget candy (did we mention Digital Dolby Plus audio and a graphics engine that can provide over 12 billion floating point operations per second?): "Hardware is a critical part of the service," he said, and later dismissed notions that Amazon was interested in the proverbial razor/blade strategy. In other words, hardware is also a critical part of Amazon's business success.

Make no mistake, however, Amazon is in this to create a content consumption experience. Bezos emphasized that Amazon is interested in making money when people use the device, more than when they purchase it.

It's not far-fetched to wonder why Amazon didn't simply build a series of Android or iPad apps, or perhaps work with another manufacturer to deliver the Amazon content experience on any tablet. But just like Apple and Microsoft, Amazon must believe it can only compete effectively by completely controlling all parts of the tablet experience, including the hardware.

WiFi Speed
All the hullabaloo about better WiFi came down to Amazon's claim that it offered 40% faster downloads and higher speed streaming than anyone else, which is important on devices like these, especially with higher definition content, Bezos said.

Despite the focus on all of the tablets' technical specifications, the most exciting parts of the Amazon announcement actually did revolve around content services, namely the addition of features like Immersion Reading, Whispersync for Voice, Kindle Free Time, and X-Ray. Amazon has been hard at work to capture a lead in the content game.

Bezos continually prattled on about Amazon's treasure trove of content titles, including its "exclusive 180,000" books. Amazon's only real competition for content is Apple, which has the music lead, and arguably also the video lead; it can't touch Amazon on the book front. (PC World does a fair, but still inconclusive comparison of how Amazon and iTunes content stores compare.

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Andrew Hornback
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/8/2012 | 8:27:59 PM
re: Amazon Revamp Puts Apple On Notice
So, Apple, how long before you sue Amazon? After beating Samsung, is there anyone out there left that can stop you?

Looks like this is going to turn into a three-way fight at the top - Apple, Google, Amazon...

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
User Rank: Apprentice
9/7/2012 | 8:04:30 PM
re: Amazon Revamp Puts Apple On Notice
Looking at this I would buy one !
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