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Amazon targets Apple's iPad in Kindle ad [video]

February 9, 2012 | 12:57 pm

Amazon has a new advertisement that lauds the e-ink styling of its traditional Kindle e-reader and the low price of its new tablet, the Kindle Fire. What's the target? Apple's iPad, of course, carried along by a dorky dude. The smart Amazon buyer is a bright-eyed bikini-clad mother of two.

Amazon's point: She bought three Kindles for the price of an iPad.

Gizmodo isn't buying the argument. The technology blog says the Kindle Fire is "significantly less capable" than the iPad, adding, "you're basically making fun of a Lexus for not being a Kia."

Meanwhile, those low-cost Kindles actually cost more to manufacture than they do to buy. Both the $79 Kindle e-reader and the Kindle Fire tablet are loss leaders. It costs Amazon $84.25 to make the $79 Kindle, and the $199 Kindle Fire costs Amazon $201.70. The bikini mom's gain is, literally, Amazon's loss.

Exactly how many Kindles Amazon has sold at this losing rate is uncertain. While analysts regularly make predictions and estimates, Amazon has never released specific sales numbers for its line of e-readers.

Amazon ad-watchers may recognize the bikini mom. Just 18 months ago, she was the bikini girl who bragged that her Kindle cost less than her sunglasses, stirring a brief online controversy. Back then, she didn't have any kids; now they look to be about 10. They grow up so fast when you raise them in a surreal beach-side environment, don't they?


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-- Carolyn Kellogg