Two updated versions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire are set to launch in the UK in a bid to rival Apple’s iPad. Is the Kindle Fire a serious threat to the iPad’s dominance?

The level of media attention generated by Amazon’s Kindle Fire updates might make it easy to compare it to Apple’s own intensively hyped launches. But in terms of price, the Kindle Fire is more in line with tablets at the cheaper end of the spectrum, such as Google’s Nexus 7, which sells for £199 for a 16GB model.

But despite its cheaper price, the Kindle Fire’s specifications are still impressive when compared to the iPad’s (see below). However, fans of the Apple brand are prepared to pay more for the distinctive look and feel of its products. And the iPad not only looks snazzy, but also has a high resolution screen.

Sales wise, Amazon still has some way to go in its battle with Apple. Research firm IDC reported in August that Apple’s share of the global tablet market in the second quarter of 2012 was 68.2%, compared to Amazon’s 5%.

Tom Mainelli, research director at Mobile Connected Devices, said iPad growth shows no sign of slowing. He said: “The vast majority of consumers continue to favor the iPad over competitors, and Apple is seeing increasingly strong interest in the device from vertical markets—especially education. While iPad shipment totals are beginning to slow a bit in mature markets where the device saw early traction, growth in other regions is clearly more than making up the difference.”

Which is not to say Amazon isn’t a threat. It continues to work hard to make it as easy as possible for its tablet users to buy content from its ever-expanding ecosystem of books, films and music, and the lower price point will appeal to shoppers. Amazon’s trusted brand is a boost too – consumers are generally confident of both the products and its service.

It’s never wise to underestimate Amazon – its achievements over the past decade were unexpected, and almost unrivalled. The Kindle Fire may not beat the iPad in sales volumes any time soon, but Apple executives should be keeping an eye on it.


Kindle Fire HD

Price: £159 for the 7-inch Kindle Fire and £129 for the basic Kindle model

Operating system: Android 4.0

Processor: Dual-core processor which runs at 1.2 GHz.

Display: Initially at 1280 x 800 resolution with a 7 inch screen.

Memory: Not yet known but expected to be around 1GB of RAM

Storage: 16GB or 32GB


iPad 3

Price: £329 for a 16GB version.

Operating system: iOS version 5.1.1

Processor: Dual-core processor which runs at 1GHz.

Display: The retina display screen has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 with a 9.7 inch screen.

Memory: 1GB of RAM

Storage: Up to 64GB