iPad challenged by Kindle Fire?

According to JP Morgan, Kindle Fire (Amazon’s challenge to the iPad) will affect Apple’s tablet sales this quarter.   JP Morgan has lowered its forecast for iPad numbers from 13.3m to 13m units in the period.   The recession it seems is fuelling demand for cheaper tablets.

Apple is expected to continue dominating the tablet market until at least 2014, but JP Morgan analyts are nonetheless trimming their forecasts by a fraction, Kindle Fire is here to stay.

Amazon has apparently already shipped around 4m units of the Kindle Fire since it went on sale in September.   Digitimes’ manufacturing sources that say the firm could hit 5m by January next year.   Meanwhile Amazon is already believed to be working on the next version of the Fire due for launch in spring 2012, the same time as the rumoured iPad 3.   That pre-release demand for the Kindle Fire outstripped that of the original iPad and this is also fuelling the hype further.

So what’s the difference between the two tablets?

If you want more functionality like the ability to email, process documents, go online, play music or use multimedia apps with a colour screen and ‘swipe’ functions then the iPad is clearly for you.   But at around £400 is it really ideal?

Kindle Fire splits the difference between e-readers and the full-size tablet/mini laptop functionality of the iPad.   Kindle Fire works as an e-reader but also uses a customised version of the Android operating system to deliver a growing variety of media, productivity, and entertainment apps.   Most significantly, it is priced at a sympathetic £200 – £250.

For a full analysis of performance between the big beasts of the tablet world have a look at this from CNET.   You can also find out more from Mashable.

UPDATE: 16/12/2011 – From WIRED: “Of all the major hardware players, Amazon seemed best equipped to battle Apple in the tablet market.”

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