Kindle Fire offers color touch screen and Amazon Silk web browser. Can it make a dent in the market share for the iPad?
Kindle Fire – the bestselling item on Amazon.com – began shipping today, one day early, announced the world’s largest online retailer.
“We’re thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected,” Dave Limp, vice president for Amazon Kindle, said in a press release announcing the launch. “Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response, we’re building millions more than we planned.”
The Fire, the latest in a line of Kindle e-reader devices, is seen as Amazon’s challenge to iPad. Apple sold more than 11 million of the tablet computers in the fourth quarter, a year-over-year increase of 166 percent, the company announced in an October 18 earnings report.
The Kindle Fire sells for $199 and features a smaller, lighter weight design that’s easy to hold with one hand. It offers a color touch screen and Amazon Silk, a web browser that harnesses the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud to instantly access more than 18 million books, TV shows, songs, books magazines, apps and games. The purchase includes a free 30-day subscription to Amazon Prime. The premium program charges $79 year for access to nearly 13,000 free streaming movies and TV shows, as well as free access to more than 5,000 books from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
The Kindle Fire is one of three new Kindle products shipping early for the holiday shopping season. Today Amazon also announced it will ship its all-new Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G beginning tomorrow, well in advance of the previously announced the shipping date of November 21. The Kindle Touch, which sells for $99, and the Kindle Touch 3G, which has a $149 sticker price, are “all-new, full-featured e-readers,” says the company.
“We know that customers are excited to get their hands on these new Kindles, which is why we’re excited to be able to ship several days earlier than we planned,” said Limp in a press release. Sales of the new Kindles are more than double any previous Kindle launch. The devices feature the latest electronic ink display, fast page turns and a longer battery life. The free 3G feature allows users to download and read books without a WiFi connection.
Both the Kindle Tough and Kindle Touch 3G include “X-ray,” a new feature that lets users explore the “bones of the book.” According to Amazon, “With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them.” X-ray also gives access to Wikipedia and Shelfari, a community powered encyclopedia for book lovers.
Computer tablet use is a well-established among wealthy investors, particularly those in their mid-50s and younger, according to a Millionaire Corner study on social media use among investors. More than one-third of younger Millionaire investors – those with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not including primary residence – use computer tablets. Most of these users are professionals and executives, and 83 percent of them use an iPad.