NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) fundamentally changed the landscape of the tablet market Wednesday with its announcement of the new Kindle Fire. Industry insiders have spent months speculating about the tablet, but even after all that the device still packed a few crucial surprises.
While rumors leading up to the announcement suggested the 7-inch tablet would cost somewhere between $250-$300, Amazon revealed that it will actually sell for just $199, undercutting many of its competitors. The Kindle Fire will also boast a dual-core processor along with a special Amazon browser that uses cloud computing to load webpages faster and offer instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows.
With these and other features, the Kindle Fire may just incinerate much of the competition. MainStreet took a look at three existing tablets that may have the most to lose in the coming months.
Until now, one could simply have defined the tablet market as the Apple iPad and everyone else, but within minutes of Amazon’s announcement, it became clear that Apple’s tablet finally has a strong challenger.
To be clear, the iPad and the Kindle Fire do have significant differences. The iPad has a bigger screen, more memory and, perhaps most importantly, the benefit of having been around long enough to attract millions of customers. Still, the Kindle Fire brings something special to the marketplace: the right combination of price and content.
Several companies have tried to compete with the iPad on price, but only a few have managed to put out a tablet for less than the $399 that Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) charges for its cheapest first-generation model. Those companies that have put out tablets in that price range like the Dell Streak 7 generally fell far below Apple in the quality of content. While Apple had built up thousands of apps and established the right partnerships to offer e-books, magazines, music and streaming movies (via Netflix), other tablets focused more on hardware and launched with comparatively few content options.