Amazon’s new Android tablet, Kindle Fire, has become a top seller for the retailer even before its official release. Debuting on November 15, Kindle Fire deals a hard blow to NOOK Color, Barnes & Noble’s color eReader with tablet capabilities. At a price of $199, Kindle Fire undercuts NOOK Color by a margin of $50 and offers more value.
Let’s compare the eReader cum tablets in more detail.
Both NOOK Color and Kindle Fire have 7inch color displays supporting 1024x600p resolution. Kindle is about half an inch smaller in length and breadth and weighs 1.2 ounces lesser than B&N’s tab. NOOK is more aesthetic to look at and easier to hold, designed more for portrait orientation. Kindle Fire is simply cut and looks plain but is comfortable to hold in both landscape and portrait.
Some details of Kindle Fire’s hardware are not yet known – RAM, GPU – as Amazon is focusing more on the experience than hardware. From what we know, Kindle Fire ships with a dual core TI OMAP 4 series versus NOOK’s single core 800Mhz TI OMAP 3621, 8GB internal storage same as NOOK, and a microUSB port like NOOK. NOOK Color features a microSD slot while Kindle Fire touts cloud storage. Both tabs offer 8 hours battery life.
NOOK’s microSD is a plus as you can carry more stuff while traveling. Cloud storage depends on internet connectivity which isn’t always available. Kindle Fire has a stronger processor than NOOK but the difference will only be evident while playing videos or complex games not otherwise.
Kindle Fire houses Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and NOOK Color has Android 2.2 (Froyo). Both have heavily customized UIs that are similar in response and feel and easy to use. In apps and media, Kindle is way ahead of NOOK. NOOK is mostly about reading. It includes more apps focused on reading, with just a few in other categories in NOOK’s App store that includes 729 apps. Kindle Fire accesses Amazon’s store that encompasses eBooks, music, videos, TV shows, with dedicated players and cloud services. The App Store includes 16,638 apps along with Android apps.
Kindle Fire includes Amazon silk browser optimized for mobile devices while NOOK Color includes a customized Android browser. Amazon’s Whispersync has been extended to videos so you can start watching on compatible devices where you left off. You can save your own media on both tabs, including non-DRM music and videos. While NOOK limits the size and format of videos, Kindle will play any media format and size that stock Gingerbread can play.
At $199, Kindle Fire offers more for less. B&N could drop the price of the $250 NOOK Color to compete. According to rumors, there’s a NOOK Color 2 in the making that could warm up things in the holiday season.
Kindle Fire is not out yet so performance cannot be compared with NOOK Color. For now, Kindle Fire is the better deal. Opinion may or may not change after November 15.
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