by Terence Keegan
There are several obvious distinctions between Amazon’s newly announced Kindle Fire tablet and Apple’s iPad, with price perhaps chief among them (via Bloomberg Businessweek). But another notable difference is how each company envisions the marketplace for digital entertainment going forward.
With the Kindle Fire, Amazon is emphasizing easy access to the company’s cloud-based movie and TV streaming services—Kindle Fire purchasers receive a free month of membership in Amazon Prime—as well as Amazon’s Cloud Player for digital music. Apple, in contrast, still encourages iPad users to “fill” their devices with downloads of music, movies, and TV shows.
Apple’s position could change when the company fully rolls out its iCloud service this fall. But at present, iCloud only promises download access to content that a user has purchased — as opposed to streaming access, which Amazon has offered from the start with its cloud services.
Kindle Fire users also will be able to begin watching a video stream on their tablet, then resume streaming on their home (Internet-connected) television, in an expansion of the “Whispersync” technology that Amazon already offers for its Kindle e-books.
The company will start shipping the $199 Kindle Fire on Nov. 15. The device features a 7-inch display, smaller than that of the iPad (the cheapest of which sells for $499; unlike the Kindle Fire, the iPad also includes a camera and microphone).