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Amazon and Microsoft Launch Attacks on Apple

The iPad Mini has really set the cat amongst the pigeons, with two rivals launching attacks on Apple's newest product. Amazon has used its front page to claim that its Kindle Fire is cheaper, better, and high-deffer than the Mini, while Microsoft called it "a $329 recreational tablet." It's unlikely that Apple gives two hoots about the digs: the Mini has sold out of all models, with shipping times pushed back to two weeks.

The third horseman of the Apple-calypse— that's Google— has dropped the price of its 16GB Nexus 7 to $199. Today's launch of new Nexus devices in New York has had to be postponed due to the incoming Hurricane Sandy (although Office Depot is already displaying the availability of a 32GB version, the wraps of which were due to come off today).

Tech nabobs are normally keen to rise above the sniping, leaving that to the fanboys and girls in the comments of online reviews, but Steve Ballmer, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, and Windows President Steven Sinofsky have all spent the past few days swinging wild punches at their opponents' offerings.

And finally, there's the Barnes & Noble Nook. By and large it's been keeping itself above the fray, but today it seeks to conquer a new territory, with a pair of e-readers available in the U.K., along with a supporting website. B&N tablets will be available in Britain from next month.

Update: It's all about the timing... Joining the gang against Apple, Google has just revealed its new lineup of devices. Alongside a cheaper Nexus 7 (which has had a new storage option at the top end of 32GB and new HSPA+ mobile data speeds) there's the new Nexus 10 tablet and the Nexus 4 smartphone. The Nexus 10 has a high-res screen with 2560 by 1600 pixels, Android 4.2, a 5-megapixel rear camera and NFC. Priced at $399 for the 16GB model, this is a shot right across the iPad's bows. The Nexus 4 is an LG-made phone, with a quad-core CPU and a 4.7-inch screen and wireless charging.

Since Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 event is today, it's also fair to say Google's trying to steal a bit of Microsoft's limelight. And vice versa, of course.

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