updated 11:40 am EDT, Mon September 13, 2010
Kindle anti-iPad ad shows Amazon sensitivity
Amazon stepped up the e-reader war today with an ad for the third-generation Kindle that directly attacks Apple's iPad. The 30-second spot, already shown on ABC, points out that the (thinly disguised) iPad's glossy LCD is hard to read in bright daylight and notes that the Kindle doesn't have any such problems. It's so readable that the Kindle owner can keep her sunglasses on.
The ad also tries to deepen the wound by noting that a Kindle costs just $139 versus the iPad's $499 starting price.
Much of the advantage comes from the display type, which the ad doesn't mention is a mixed blessing for its design. E-paper screens like the Kindle's E Ink display don't need a backlight or a glossy screen and subsequently doesn't have issues with glare. Even so, current technology is also incapable of displaying more than a small color range at best and can't handle video or other fast motion. The absence of a backlight also makes it poorly suited to reading in low light.
Amazon has superficially tried to downplay competition and separate the Kindle and iPad by putting them in different categories, but the new TV spot contradicts this and confirms Amazon is worried about Apple's effect on its sales. The Kindle still has the majority of market share and is billed as better for its purpose, but early studies have showed that iPad owners don't buy Kindles or are trading up as they either want the extra features or feel the Kindle is redundant.