/ 27 September 2011

Amazon to take fight to Apple with the Kindle Fire

Amazon’s challenger to Apple’s iPad will be called the Kindle Fire, technology website TechCrunch reported on Monday.

The report, which said that the device would not be available for sale until early November, came two days before a scheduled press event where Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos is expected to unveil the tablet for the first time.

Amazon announced a deal on Monday to stream Fox movies and TV shows online, a content deal that could boost Amazon’s tablet as it seeks to build a tightly integrated system that will allow users to consume media, browse the web, shop at Amazon’s online store and use the company’s other services.

Amazon has not confirmed that it will announce the new tablet on Wednesday, but rumours of the iPad challenger have been swirling for months.

Though other would-be iPad rivals — such as Samsung, HP and RIM’s Playbook — have all failed to take off, analysts see Amazon’s millions of web customers and its streaming media offerings as giving it the best chance of denting the iPad’s dominance.

The launch coincides with an analyst report from JP Morgan Chase, which said that Apple has cut back its orders of iPad parts by 25% this quarter, fearing the effect of a global economic slowdown on sales. Nevertheless, analyst Mark Moskowitz repeated earlier forecasts that Apple would sell between 10-million and 12-million iPads in the second half of 2011.

Analysts have predicted sales of between three million and five million units in the fourth quarter for the Fire, which is expected to sport a 7-inch screen compared to the 10-inch screen of the iPad, but will reportedly sell for $250, half the price of its larger rival.

Online video rental service Netflix, which recently announced it was splitting its DVD service from its streaming service, also announced a new content deal. The exclusive deal with Dreamworks Animation gives the video provider the online rights from 2013 to many of the studio’s films, such as Shrek. – Sapa-DPA