Kindle Fire or iPad 2: Which is Best For You?
It appears that the Apple iPad may have some competition. Strangely, it appears to be coming from book and content sellers; Amazon and Barnes & Noble rather than other tablet manufacturers. Here’s a rundown of some things to keep in mind if you are considering the new Amazon Kindle Fire or iPad 2.
KINDLE FIRE iPAD 2 B & N Nook Tablet
7" and 14.6 oz 9.7" and 1.3 lbs 7" and 14.1 oz
1024 x 600 resolution 1024 x 768 resolution 1024 x 600 resolution
TI OMAP Dual Core/1GHz Processor A5 Dual Core/1GHz Processor TI OMAP Dual Core/1GHz Processor
Custom Version of Android 2.3 iOS 5 Custom Version of Android 2.3
No Camera
No Microphone
Front Camera/Rear Camera/Microphone No Camera
8GB of on-board Storage; free cloud storage of all items bought through Amazon including music, games, books, videos. No SD Card slot. 16/32/64GB Storage 16GB Storage with an expandable SD Card slot.
Amazon Cloud Storage/Amazon Prime/MP3 Store/Amazon App Store (Unspecified Number of apps but considerably less than iPad) iCloud/iTunes (90,000 Apps for iPad) No Cloud Storage/No access to the Android Market/Nook App Store (Unspecified number of apps, but less than Amazon)
Magazines/Newspapers/Kindle eBooks/Kindle Owner’s Lending Library Magazines/Newspapers/iBooks
Kindle eBooks
Magazines/Newspapers/B&N eBooks
Wi-Fi/No 3G Option/No Bluetooth Wi-Fi or 3G/Bluetooth Wi-Fi/No 3G Option/No Bluetooth
No Accelerometer or Gyroscope Accelerometer and Gyroscope No Accelerometer or Gyroscope
8 Hour Battery Life (with Wi-Fi off) 10 Hour Battery Life 9 Hour Battery Life (with Wi-Fi off)
Supports Flash Does not support Flash Supports Flash
No Stores In-Store Support In-Store Support
Price: $199 Price Wi-Fi: $499 (16GB) / $599 (32GB) / $699 (64GB)

Price 3G: $629 (16GB) / $729 (32GB) / $829 (32GB)

Price: $249
It May Depend on How You Use Your Tablet
The primary purpose of the Kindle Fire is to serve as a consumption device, specifically Amazon’s media. Presumably, the reason they can sell the tablets for so little is because they are counting on making money on their content. The Fire has access to all of Amazon’s many media offerings – MP3 Store, App Store, Video Streaming, Amazon Prime (when you buy the Fire, the first month of service is free). You will note that the resolution of both the iPad 2 and the Fire is essentially the same, yet the Fire is three inches smaller. The same amount of pixels crammed into a smaller screen, one with a widescreen aspect ratio, make it the better device for watching television and movies.

The iPad 2 is the Fire on steroids. It has more hardware, more apps and more screen. With two cameras and a microphone, none of which the Fire has, you can video chat using Skype or Facetime. The iPad 2 also boasts an accelerometer and gyroscope, both of which greatly enhance the gaming and application experience.

Apps Are King
The inescapable fact remains that these days any mobile device is only as good as the apps it offers. In many ways they define the limits of what it can do and how useful it can be in your life. With 90,000 apps optimized for tablet usage alone Apple is miles ahead of Amazon. We’re not sure how many apps are available for the Fire in the Amazon App store, we can’t find a reliable number to report; one of the reasons for this may be that since the Fire is running a forked version of Android, not all of the tablet apps will run on it.

The other advantage Apple has is the security of their App Store. Because they approve every app that is submitted they can be assured that there is no malware which may harm your devices. The Android Marketplace doesn’t do this, and it doesn’t look like Amazon will be stepping in to do it either.

iPad 2 Has a More “Current” OS
This is a somewhat bold statement to make considering no reviews have come out yet on how the Fire handles. It stands to reason however that the OS is going to be one of the more uncertain parts of the tablet. We know that it’s running a forked version of Android 2.3. This means that Amazon took an old version of Android (the latest release is 3.0) and customized it heavily to suit their own purposes; it probably won’t look much like anything we’ve come to recognize as Android. It also raises questions about future upgrades. Soon Google will be releasing Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of its tablet OS; Amazon has yet to say whether the Fire will be able to update.
Prime is a Hot Selling Point
Many people still think of Amazon Prime as just a discounted, fast shipping service, but those people are mistaken and it’s worth pausing a moment to seriously consider this offering. Yes, $79 a year gets you unlimited two-day shipping and discounts on 1-day shipping. It also gets you access to Amazon’s video library of over 10,000 movies and TV shows that you can stream. Recently the company also announced that they were adding a Kindle Owner’s Lending Library; any Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Fire owners have access to this library, but Prime owners get to borrow one book per calendar month for free. The library currently offers over 5000 titles, with more to come.

If you’re a student you can get the first six months of Prime service for free, and after the initial six month period your Prime membership will cost only $39 a year for up to four years.

The iPad 2 really has nothing comparable to Prime - you can only rent and buy on a per-movie basis.

Silk Could Be Faster Than Safari
Amazon has also been touting their new browser, called Silk, and it seems to be something quite interesting. Like Opera, rather than relying solely on the hardware to render web-pages, Silk unloads some of the workload (heavier things like Javascript and HTML) to the cloud. It will also remember your favorite sites and pre-load them in the cloud. All of this should make the Internet experience incredibly fast (you can watch a video on this here).
iPad 2 is One of Many Interconnected iDevices
There is also the Apple “ecosystem” to take into consideration. With iOS 5 and the introduction of iCloud Apple is tying their products together even more tightly. It allows users to store music, apps, documents, and media in the cloud, so buying the tablet is one thing, but if you already have an iPhone, Mac, iPod, etc switching between devices becomes effortless. Furthermore, Apple’s Airplay that allows you to display media on your iPad (or other idevice) on your HDTV (through an Apple TV) does not have an equivalent on the Kindle Fire.
  Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet:
This week Barnes and Noble announced that they too were entering the tablet wars - with the Nook Tablet. It goes on sale November 17th and we’ve included the specs in our chart so you can see how it stacks up against the competition. Obviously it’s looking to take on the Fire rather than the iPad. In a strictly hardware sense the Nook actually improves on the Fire - more memory, much more storage space, slightly better battery, all running on the same older version of Android however early reports indicate the Fire may outperform the Nook despite the Nook’s resource advantages. Barnes and Noble can’t however, match up to Amazon in terms of content. They don’t have access to the Android Marketplace and so must develop their own apps, of which there are very few at the moment. They don’t offer streaming video or music or movies. They have made up for this by signing deals with Netflix, Hulu, Rhapsody, Pandora, Marvel Comics, Spotify, and apparently a movie rental service will be available soon.
At the End of the Day
If what you want is to watch movies, listen to music, read some books and browse the Internet then the Fire would be the better choice – an iPad in that case would be like using rocket launchers as 4th of July fireworks. The iPad 2 on the other hand, is more flexible and dynamic, offering more hardware and more applications; best for users who may want to use for more than just casual media, or who have already invested in other Apple products.

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Kindle Fire

I like my new Kindle Fire and my wife likes her IPad 3G. They are used for different purposes and fit our individual needs.

At the end of the day

Camera, Camera, No camera is a deal killer- "Facebook" and it's still true you get what you pay for just look at the chart.

Kindle Fire or iPad 2: Which is Best For You?

Your review of the above is accurate and fair albeit no mention of the Nook. I am buying the Kindle Fire. However I like the add a couple of differences here. The Kindle has one strong point portability. You can carry it on one hand without feeling tired as it is 7". That is handy when you are on chat or reading. I know that because I currently owned a Samsung 7" Tab. All things being equal or close, the Tab is less than half the price of an iPad2 and that is a very strong motivating point to swing buyers to it. Amazon probably did their homework right here.


I just don't get the reason for such a high price for the Ipad2, $500 to $800, is ridiculous, when one could get a good laptop for the same money, yeah, I know, one can't put a laptop in one's pocket. :) Just my 2c worth

Alternative: Vizio tablet

The Vizio tablet has a weaker camera and processor, but has a number of features beyond the iPad2. It has dual stereo speakers, usb and hdmi ports, bluetooth and wifi connections. It is running Android 2.3, but is supposed to be getting an upgrade.
It has access to the Android market, supports flash, and even has support for Hulu Plus. It supports Kindle and Nook reader apps, and other readers as well. It's an 8" tablet with resolution of 1024x768, and soft buttons that move with the orientation. It has an Accelerometer, Gyroscope and GPS receiver. It supports a micro SD card, up to 32 gig. And just for fun, it has an IR output supported by an entertainment control app (TV, Sound systems, DVR, etc.)
To me, the big key is a street price between $200 and $260 dollars, but functionality that exceeds the iPad2 except for 3G. That also means no monthly charge for a data plan.
I'm not a marketing shill, it just annoys me that every one jumps on the bandwagon about iPad killer from Amazon, but doesn't review some obvious other choices.


Amazon may have the Amazon marketplace, but there is an android market place available to all android devices. Also, once you have access to the android marketplace, the amazon marketplace is a free download. This is unlike Apple, which wants to be the only seller on their devices.

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