Somewhere, Jeff Bezos just punched a wall with his bare fist. The Amazon CEO is angry, frustrated, bloodied -- he must be! -- because his company's Kindle Fire just got totally upstaged and outshined by Google and its inspired new Nexus 7 tablet.
Consider these two tablets: Both have 7-inch screens. Both retail for $199. Both are marketed as thin, lightweight devices for watching movies and listening to music and reading books and magazines. Same price, same basic size, same pitch to consumers: These tablets are competing against each other -- or rather, they would be competing against each other, if the battle weren't so comically lopsided.
When you delve deeper, you see that for the same price, the Nexus 7 is offering much, much more than the Kindle Fire. This is a no-contest knockout victory for the Nexus 7; it would take the Pacquiao-Bradley judges to award the fight to the Kindle Fire.
Look: The Nexus 7 has a better screen resolution (1,280x800) than the Kindle Fire (1,024x600). It's lighter (0.75 pounds vs. 0.91 pounds) and thinner (0.41 inches vs. 0.45 inches). It has a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB RAM, blowing away the Kindle Fire's 1.0 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB RAM.
It has a front-facing camera; the Kindle Fire doesn't. It has a microphone; the Kindle Fire doesn't. It has volume buttons; the Kindle Fire doesn't. It has Bluetooth and NFC and a port for video out; the Kindle Fire doesn't. Its battery life is better than the Kindle Fire's It is deeply integrated with Gmail and Gchat and Google Reader and YouTube and a fully-stocked Google Play content store, while Amazon has deep integration with the content but not the rest of the Internet.
How is it possible that these two tablets are selling for the same price? On paper, the Nexus 7 looks like a far more expensive device than the Kindle Fire.
Now, for those who already own one, the Kindle Fire is not, all of a sudden, a bad tablet. For light reading and watching flicks on-the-go, the Fire is fine, and cheap, and intuitive. A retail price of $199 is still inexpensive for a tablet of its quality, utility and ease-of-use.
Nor is the Nexus 7 a perfect device. The lack of microSD storage will break the deal for those who wish to load tons of movies onto their tablet. Also, many dislike the Android operating system, finding it unattractive and not optimized for the fat fingers of touch. The lack of 3G/4G support and HDMI port will likely disqualify the Nexus 7 for many as well.
But in comparing the two noteworthy $199 tablets on the market right now -- the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 -- one cannot help but see that the Nexus 7 simply outdoes the Kindle Fire in almost every conceivable way. It's faster, lighter, thinner and it adds a webcam/microphone combination for video calling. With the addition of magazines and TV shows to the Google Play Store, Amazon no longer has an obvious content advantage.
If you're trying to decide between the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, in other words, your mind should already be made up. Instantly, almost every advantage of the Kindle Fire has been erased; the Nexus 7 is that much better, for the same price.
Before the Google event and the unveiling of the Nexus 7, there was a rumor on CNET that Amazon is preparing to announce a new model of the Kindle Fire for release in August. If I'm Amazon (or Barnes & Noble, for that matter), and I just saw what Google unveiled, in what was a clear attack on the Kindle Fire's viability and appeal, I'm finalizing the invitations for the unveiling of the Kindle Fire 2 right now.
It wasn't Apple and iOS being squashed by Android Jelly Bean, nor Facebook contra Google+: It was Amazon, and its suddenly unattractive Kindle Fire, that Google smacked hardest. If Jeff Bezos isn't punching walls -- well, maybe he should be.
Take a look at the gallery below to see photos of the Nexus 7 tablet.