Amazon’s long-awaited tablet is finally here, in the form of the Kindle Fire. The $199 tablet runs a heavily modified version of Android, hooks neatly into Amazon’s gigantic book store, and is designed for multimedia consumption and, more than anything, reading.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Barnes & Noble Nook, released months ago, is designed for essentially the same thing. The Nook Color is the clearest competitor to the Kindle Fire, but given the hype surrounding the new tablet, it seems more likely that the holiday season’s biggest question will be “should I get a Kindle Fire or an iPad?”
The answer to that question boils down to what you want to do with a tablet. The Kindle Fire and Apple iPad compete primarily along content lines: The iPad has iTunes, with its millions of songs, TV shows, movies and books; and the Kindle Fire has Amazon, with, well, basically the same thing. The Kindle Fire can’t compete with the iPad’s A5 processor, its 500,000 apps, or its 64GB of internal storage, but at $199 it doesn’t have to. The iPad is certainly a more impressive machine, but that may not matter to every user.
The differences between the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color boil down similarly to a company vs. company debate. The specs of the two devices are nearly the same: 7-inch tablets running heavily customized versions of Android, 8GB of internal storage (though the Nook Color has a micro SD slot), 8-hour battery life, Wi-Fi, and even similar dimensions and weight. Barnes & Noble boasts a giant bookstore with tons of periodicals, newspapers, and even children’s books; Amazon does the same. If you’re already in the Barnes & Noble ecosystem, it’s difficult to leave it for Amazon, but Amazon’s offering of music, movies, and TV shows in addition to its book library is awfully compelling.
Of course, the rumor mill is churning with talk that a new Nook Color is in store, so Barnes & Noble could be poised to leapfrog the Kindle Fire as it did to the Kindle with its Nook Touch Reader.
Below, we’ve rounded up and compared some of the key specs and features of the Kindle Fire, the iPad 2, and the Nook Color. It’s already a very competitive tablet market, and it will be very interesting to see what people choose for themselves and their loved ones.
Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.