Kindle Vs. Nook Vs. iPad Vs. Others

by Philip Shropshire

This chapter is a free excerpt from How To Get The Most From Your Kindle Device.

The iPad emphasizes downloads—customers who buy music, TV shows, or movies through iTunes must download them to their machine. (Even users of its new iCloud service must download their music to listen to it—at least for now.) This keeps iPads tethered to the paradigm of local storage, putting a premium on machines with more memory (which cost hundreds of dollars more). Amazon, by contrast, emphasizes streaming. Fire users can store up to 20 GB of music for free on the company’s servers (or an unlimited amount of music bought from Amazon). They can then stream it freely, along with more than 100,000 videos. That’s probably why the Fire’s virtual hard drive is just 8 GB, half the size of the smallest iPad.

from Wired Magazine's November 2011 interview with Jeff Bezos

By the numbers, the Kindle is the most dominant e-reader in the United States. According to a report byGoldman Sachs, Kindle has an overwhelming market share of over 67 percent. The Nook trails at around 22 percent and the rest is composed of "other."


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The iPad emphasizes downloads—customers who buy music, TV shows, or movies through iTunes must download them to their machine. (Even users of its new iCloud service must download their music to listen to it—at least for now.) This keeps iPads tethered to the paradigm of local storage, putting a premium on machines with more memory (which cost hundreds of dollars more). Amazon, by contrast, emphasizes streaming. Fire users can store up to 20 GB of music for free on the company’s servers (or an unlimited amount of music bought from Amazon). They can then stream it freely, along with more than 100,000 videos. That’s probably why the Fire’s virtual hard drive is just 8 GB, half the size of the smallest iPad.

from Wired Magazine's November 2011 interview with Jeff Bezos

By the numbers, the Kindle is the most dominant e-reader in the United States. According to a report byGoldman Sachs, Kindle has an overwhelming market share of over 67 percent. The Nook trails at around 22 percent and the rest is composed of "other."

There is a lot of "other." The Big Four Kindle competitors appear to be the Nook (Barnes & Noble), the PRS-T1 (Sony), the Galaxy tablet (Samsung), and the iPad (Apple). Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison:

Kindle Fire

Nook

iPad 2

Glaxay

PRS-T1

Screen Size

7-inch multi-touch display

7-inch multi-touch display

9.7-inch multi-touch display

8.9-inch multi-touch display

6-inch black and white touch screen

GB

16 GB (expandable to 32GB via microSD)

16 GB (expandable to 32 GB)

16GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models

16 GB

1.3 GB (expandable memory up to 32 GB)

Battery Life

8 hours (reading), 7.5 hours video

11.5 hours (reading), 9 hours (video)

10 hours

13 hours variable

One month on a single charge

Ram

512 Ram

1 GB

512 MB

1 GB

n/a

Core

1 GHz dual core chip

1 GHz dual core

1 GHz dual core Apple A5

1 GHz

n/a

OS

Amazon flavored Android OS

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

iOS 5

Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Windows

PRICE

$199

$249

$499-$699

$449

$149

What Do The Experts Say?

In this report issued on November 23rd, 2011, CNET, well respected tech resource for many years, took a look at the Kindle vs. the Nook vs. the iPad. It had some complementary things to say about all the products as their techs took a look at several factors: best basic e-book reader, best reading tablet, and best all-around full-featured reading tablets.

The Amazon Kindle finished number 1 in the categories of best basic e-reader and best reading tablet for under $250. The Amazon Kindle Fire also came in first under the category best reading tablet under $250, with the Barnes and Noble Nook tablet taking second place. However, Apple's iPad 2 came first in the competition for best all-around, full-featured reading tablets, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 coming in second.

Other categories that CNET looked at included weight, e-ink screens vs. LCD screens, connectivity, and which platform offers the most flexibility. A major strength of Amazon's Kindle is that the product is intimately tied to the online store. Yet its also a major weakness, because acquiring books from other sources is difficult.

Overall, Amazon's products did very well when it came to the final recommendations on what products to buy. The Kindle Touch won for best overall e-ink reader. The best bargain e-ink reader went to the Amazon Kindle. It was pretty much a draw between the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet and the Amazon Kindle Fire when it came to the category of Best sub-250 color e-reader. Apple's iPad won the award for best overall tablet.

Wildcards

There are other tablets, netbooks and e-readers that sell at or below the cost of a Kindle. Kyros makes a 7-inch Android touchscreen tablet that retails for $99 dollars. Archos makes a 10-inch tablet that sells for $149 dollars. Pharmacies like CVS and Rite Aid are even getting into the game by selling 7-inch Sylvania  and 7-inch Craig tablets, respectively, for less than $99 dollars. It should be pointed out that these android based tablets are better spec wise (on paper)and  they're certainly comparable to the Kindle, and more tied to the Internet than what Amazon is offering.

Although the price points for these notebooks and tablets are competitive, users are underwhelmed by their performance. For example, in this review of the Sylvania 7-inch notebook, the word “junk” is featured. A better, but still lukewarm, review of the 10-inch Archos Arnova with 8 gigs of ram illustrates that Amazon shouldn’t be worried yet.

So what’s the bottom line? Before buying a tablet or an e-reader its important to know what you're looking for in a computer. Kindles are fine if you just want standalone e-readers. They're not so good at computer functions, and even CNET gave the Kindle low marks for not having a lot of versatility. A thorough evaluation of your needs will be your greatest asset before you open your wallet.

Further Reading:

Here's an online tech writer's view of the differences between the Nook and the Kindle. http://jamesburchill.com/the-secret-behind-the-nook-and-kindle-success-machines/

Here's a standalone review of the newest Sony reader at the time of this book's publication. http://www.techradar.com/reviews/gadgets/portable-video/portable-media-players-recorders/sony-reader-prs-t1-1037776/review

Critical review of the Kindle Fire from Wired.

http://www.wired.com/reviews/2011/11/kindle-fire/all/1?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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