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Kindle ad seeks to 'expose' the iPad

Doug Gross
A new Kindle ad throws a glare on a device obviously representing Apple's iPad.
A new Kindle ad throws a glare on a device obviously representing Apple's iPad.
  • New Kindle ad takes swipe at iPad over sunlight exposure
  • Ad highlights price of Amazon reader -- starting at $139, compared with iPad's $499
  • iPad is more diverse, and some have knocked Kindle, saying it's hard to read in low light

(CNN) -- Amazon's new commercial for its Kindle e-reader is using some exposure to go after Apple's iPad -- and not just the bikini-clad actress in the ad.

The ad, posted Tuesday on the Kindle's YouTube channel, takes a swipe at one of the key complaints about reading on the Apple tablet: that its high-resolution display screen is hard to read in the sun or other bright light.

In the ad, a man lounging poolside in khaki shorts and a T-shirt shades his eyes while fighting the sun's glare on the screen of an unmarked device that looks similar to the popular iPad.

Meanwhile, his neighbor (the aforementioned bikini wearer) is reading her Kindle, which isn't backlit and which Amazon promotes as a better device for reading in bright light. The man asks his neighbor how she's able to read outside on the device.

"It's a Kindle. $139," she says, smiling. "I actually paid more for these sunglasses."

The iPad starts at $499.

Of course, the iPad is also a more diverse device than the Kindle. While Apple has promoted the iPad's e-reader capability, it can also be used to play games, surf the Web and run apps from the Apple store (including a Kindle app).

Some people also have lobbed the reverse of the iPad complaint at the Kindle, saying it's hard to read in low light.

Amazon has long made a point of touting the Kindle screen's ability to hold up in sunlight. Its high-contrast electronic "dry" ink works differently than LCD screens, such as the iPad's, or backlit computer screens.

The ad comes at a time when the Kindle is pushing for dominance of the e-reader market with its new Kindle 3.

Some analysts predicted that the iPad, first unveiled in January, would crush the market for readers such as the Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

But both responded with steep price cuts. And in June, Amazon announced that it is now selling more electronic books than hardcovers.

What's interesting is that, in the latest ad, Amazon chose to go after the iPad rather than the Nook and other devices that focus strictly on reading.

It's a subtle message that suggests Amazon thinks it's the class of the e-reader field and wants to position itself as the clear rival to tech-giant Apple's trademark device going into the holiday shopping season.


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