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Battle of the tablets: Amazon unveils iPad rival

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Leading online retailer Amazon yesterday launched its new tablet device, the Kindle Fire, as it upped the stakes in the battle for market share in this burgeoning technology sector.

Priced at $199 (£127), the Android-run Fire is significantly cheaper than Apple’s iPad 2 (£399-£659) and provides a platform for a wide range of Amazon’s digital services.

Built with a cloud-accelerating web browser titled Amazon Silk, which was also launched yesterday, the new tablet device has been designed with speed in mind and offers users access to more than 18 million movies, TV shows, music, games, books and magazines.

Various Amazon applications will also be available, as well as the most popular Android apps and games such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.

Although the Fire is Wi-Fi-only, does not offer a 3G service and comes without a camera or microphone, analysts have argued that the competitive pricing strategy undertaken by Amazon means the product could be a much fiercer competitor than those designed and launched by the likes of HP and Samsung in the recent times.

Apple’s iPad has been a global phenomenon though, with a staggering 9.25 million being sold in the third quarter of this financial year alone, and Amazon will face a tough task in growing its tablet market share.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO, said the business was offering premium products for “non-premium prices”.

“Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we’ve been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers,” he explained.

“With Kindle Fire, you have instant access to all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, the convenience of Amazon Whispersync, our revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, the speed and power of a state-of-the-art dual-core processor, a vibrant touch display with 16 million colours in high resolution, and a light 14.6 ounce design that’s easy to hold with one hand - all for only $199.”

During a day of new product launches yesterday, Amazon also unveiled three new products in its Kindle e-book reader range.

A pocket-sized latest generation Kindle joined two new Kindle Touch products, one of which offers 3G connectivity, in the e-tail giant’s growing portfolio of technical devices.

Published on Thursday 29 September by Editorial Assistant

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