updated 07:52 pm EDT, Tue October 30, 2012
Amazon effectively calls iPad mini pricing 'ballsy'
[Update: Amazon's front page no longer features the comparison] Amazon is taking the fight to Apple, using the front page of its popular site to call out Apple's new iPad mini as overpriced for the features it delivers compared to Amazon's Kindle Fire HD. Visitors to Amazon's front page will now see a quote from a tech blog calling Apple "ballsy" for pricing its 7.9-inch iPad mini as much as $130 more than competing seven-inch devices. Below, a small chart compares the features of the two devices and pronounces the Kindle Fire HD as the device that delivers "much more for much less."
Amazon's comparison is heavily weighted in favor of the e-retailer's own product, calling out the baseline iPad mini for its "standard definition, low-resolution display," "mono speaker," and inability to render movies and TV in HD. Meanwhile, the comparison hails the Kindle Fire HD's "stunning" display, as well as its higher pixel density, which allows it to render video in 720p, though it downscales 1080p content. It does not, however, mention advantages the iPad mini holds over the Kindle Fire HD, including its rear-facing camera, larger screen, and Apple's sizable advantage in tablet-optimized apps.
That Amazon would use its front page to tout its own product is not new; the retailer has used its homepage -- the tenth-most visited on the Internet -- to advertise its products since it began offering the original Kindle. That prominent placement has led to Amazon's hardware products' ongoing status as the top selling products among all those the company sells.
This may, though, be the first time that the e-retailer has used its page to directly call out a competitor.
The homepage swipe isn't the only one Amazon has tossed at Apple in recent days, though. The retailer's most recently quarterly statement spent the opening part of its highlights section comparing both its Kindle Fire HD 7 and its Kindle Fire HD 8.9 to the new iPad mini. Amazon also made sure to publicize a spike in Kindle Fire HD sales that occurred on the day after Apple announced its smaller iPad.
The retailer's focus on the iPad mini is indicative of the fierce competition in the small tablet market, a market pioneered by Samsung and other manufacturers, but one that only began to mature in the last year with the introduction of Amazon's first Kindle Fire and this year with the launch of Google's Nexus 7 tablet.
Apple's entry into this market drew no small amount of criticism from multiple media outlets, who claimed -- as Amazon does -- that the iPad mini is overpriced given its feature set. Other small tablets -- including the Nook HD, Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire HD -- may beat the iPad mini on pricing, or screen resolution, but Apple executives have attempted to deflect criticism on these points by pointing out that the smaller iPad has a larger screen, numerous other advantages and a much deeper catalog of tablet-specific apps than its competition.