Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world’s largest online retailer, unveiled its Kindle Fire tablet computer, taking aim at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s bestselling iPad with a device that’s smaller and less than half the price.
The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said. The device, a souped-up version of the Kindle electronic-book reader, will run on Google Inc.’s Android software, the Seattle-based company said.
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is betting he can leverage Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce to pose a real challenge to Apple’s iPad, after tablets from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. have fallen short. Sales of Amazon’s electronic books, movies and music on the device may help make up for the narrower profit margins that are likely to result from the low price, said Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners Corp. in New York.
“Amazon is really the only other guy, the only other potential tablet player, that has a similar offering to what Apple has,” Blair said in an interview last week. “If you look across their product offerings, they have content that none of the other tablet makers currently have because they have content on the media side.”