Amazon fires on Apple, Netflix (week in review)

Amazon unveils 7-inch Android-based tablet for $199, while Apple schedules an iPhone event. Also: Facebook privacy worries.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
3 min read

Amazon's Kindle Fire Amazon
Tech enthusiasts were expecting something big from Amazon this week, and they weren't disappointed.

Many had hoped that the Internet retailer would take the wraps off a much-anticipated tablet PC to challenge the iPad (which it did), but the company also unveiled three new e-ink e-readers. The new Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi will sell for $99; its 3G version will sell for $149. A cheaper and smaller non-touch Kindle will sell for $79.
•  Amazon Kindle Touch 3G vs. Kindle Touch vs. Kindle (2011)

But the big news of the day was the Android-based Kindle Fire tablet--Amazon's stab at the crowded tablet PC market, which is already dominated by Apple's iPad.

At $199, the 7-inch Kindle Fire is sure to find a bigger audience than other Apple iPad challengers, but the lower price point means that Amazon hasn't packed the device with specifications found in more expensive tablets.
•  Amazon to lose $50 on each Kindle Fire, says analyst

The Fire also features a new Web browser called Silk, the latest effort to make Web browsing faster, especially on portable devices where the hardware is typically slower than what a person might have on a desktop or notebook computer.
•  Amazon Silk: One step forward, two steps back
•  To beat Apple, Amazon's trying to be Apple
•  Will the Kindle Fire burn the iPad?
•  The Kindle Fire's real threat is to Microsoft

Included in all this is an assault on Netflix, with Amazon bundling the Fire with a free one-month subscription to Amazon Prime, which gives customers "instant commercial-free streaming of over 11,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost." After the free month is over, Fire owners can sign up for Prime, which costs $79 annually and includes free two-day shipping on any purchase from the retailer. Compare that with the $96 Netflix's charges just for streaming movies.

More headlines

Apple holding iPhone 5 event on October 4

The company says it will hold an event at 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday at which it will "talk iPhone."
•  New rumors say iPhone 5 to get larger screen, HSPA+
•  iPhone 5 tops many a mobile-phone shopping list
•  Your old iPhone could be worth a guaranteed $250
•  New iPhones, iPods reportedly in Apple's retail system
•  iPhone 5 hardware spec check
•  CNET readers react to the iPod's possible demise
•  iPad grabs 80 percent share, but here comes Amazon

Groups ask Feds to ban Facebook's 'frictionless sharing'

Facebook's new auto-sharing feature should be banned by the FTC because it may be misused, say liberal advocacy groups, which also raise concerns about keeping track of users who aren't logged in.
•  Lawmakers seek FTC probe of Facebook post-log out tracking
•  Spotify users steamed over Facebook requirement
•  Facebook unfriending 'bug' gets quick fix

Anonymous exposes info of alleged pepper spray cop

Activist group releases contact information for officer who allegedly sprayed women protesters with pepper spray, unprovoked.
•  Hackers leak data of Goldman Sachs CEO

HP CEO change spurred by Oracle worries, report says

The board's decision to replace Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman stemmed in part from a desire to prevent a possible buyout offer from Oracle, a new report claims.
•  Whitman to draw $1 salary as HP's CEO

Has RIM halted production of the PlayBook?

RIM insists that it is not getting out of the tablet business, but there are signs that PlayBook production may have stopped. And retailers are beginning to offer the device at deep discounts.
•  Retailers offering discounted PlayBook tablets

Larry Page: Google is its own biggest threat

Web giant's chief executive says during a conference Q&A session that he sees the company itself as its greatest obstacle to success.
•  DOJ asks Google for more data about Motorola deal

Obama, GOP try to woo Silicon Valley leaders

At a pair of competing events in Silicon Valley, President Obama and House Republican leaders are presenting their different approaches to aiding the U.S. economy.

Also of note
•  Groupon gets into direct e-commerce with Groupon Goods
•  Fortune releases Kindle-only Steve Jobs biography
•  Dead Sea Scrolls come to life on the Web