Reflections on the Kindle Fire

It’s nice to be back into the swing of things after being off all last week.  Took me a day, but after spending some time going through emails and my “to do” list, I am finally turning my attention to my blog posts for this week.  I thought an appropriate spot to start a dialogue was about Amazon and their announcement last week of their entry into the tablet market with the Kindle Fire.  It was met with a lot of excitement and there seems to be a healthy amount of pre-orderes already occurring.

So what are my thoughts?  You may find it surprising (since I’m an Apple fan) that I think that Amazon has got it totally right.  They did what no other tablet manufacture has done.  They focused on the ecosystem rather than the device.  Isn’t that what I’ve been saying all along? 🙂  It’s all about having a strategic core access point.  That is what Amazon has done, not with the device, but with their Amazon Store and the various cloud-based services.  That is their SCAP and they are clearly going to leverage that.  The Kindle Fire itself is a rather uninspiring device – there have been other much stronger candidates.  For example, the Playbook is a better piece of hardware, but they lack the ecosystem.  Sure you get a nice piece of hardware from RIM, but nothing you can do with it.  The flow of content and apps is fundamentally broken.  This is what Amazon was striving to overcome and it looks like the may have succeeded.  I’m sure that the Kindle Fire will be flying off the virtual shelves and that’s a good thing.  I’m all for continued evolution in the tablet space – it benefits us all.  The million dollar question, however, is….will this be the iPad killer?

I hate this question.  I think it really is quite silly.  Every tablet in the past year has been dubbed the iPad killer.  Has the iPad been killed?  No.  Instead we see DOA devices littering the marketplace from RIM’s Playbook to HP’s Touchpad.  It makes no sense to try to position a new tablet as an iPad killer.  Apple created this category and their focus on design, user experience and a “it-just-works” mindset will make it hard to displace.  That is why Amazon has chosen not to go head on against Apple.

I think the Kindle Fire has the potential to be a strong # 2 in the tablet space.  They’ve been aggressive on price and that will help them.  Of course, it is half the price of the iPad, but also half the tablet.  It’s smaller and not as feature rich and the cloud storage might become a limiting factor.  The 7″ screen size will hamper it from being taken seriously as a device you can do something with beyond content consumption.  Expect Amazon to come out with a 10″ Kindle Fire in the near future.    There are other risks to Amazon as well.  They’ve used the Google operating system, Android, but they’ve put their own skin on it and removed the Google services.  That isn’t going to make Google happy – I suspect that Google will tighten the terms of use on Android and that will threaten Amazon.  It wouldn’t surprise me if indeed Amazon did buy the now defunct HP/Palm WebOS so that their Kindle wouldn’t be reliant on an unpredictable and fiercely competitive Google.

Risks aside, I’m excited to see the Kindle Fire begin to ship.  Their Kindle App on my iPad is one of my most frequently used apps – they have great content for books.  I’m sure their device will be equally nice, if not for me specifically, but for many many people.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see other tablet manufactures driven out of the market with the arrival of the successful Kindle Fire.  It also wouldn’t surprise me to see Apple evolve the iPad a little quicker to ensure that it maintains the premium tablet and distance itself from the new low-cost entrant.  That is a win-win for everyone!

Categories: All Things Apple, Life & Technology, Mobile Computing, Strategy

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. another thinly veiled Apple fan-post. The Kindle Fire will crush the iPad. CRUSH IT! Why spend $900 when you could get a Fire for $200? Seriously!? This will be the Android breakout device. bye bye apple.

    • Please! Trolling much! The Amazon Kindle is an ereader. A good one, but an ereader nevertheless. The iPad and other Android tablets are tablet computers. There is a difference. A big one. Let’s see 6-12 months from now if you are still so enthusiastic. And if you choose to call me a fanboy, then you are most surely are an apple hate-boy.

    • nice zippy! agree. but sadly the apple distortion field will be blasted on everyone today as apple talks about their next phone and iPad and whatever. sadly the sheeple will blindly follow again.

  2. Why does everything have to be so nasty? There is plenty of room in the market for more than one company to produce tablets. Many will prefer the iPad. Many will prefer a Kindle. Why all the vicious hate?

  3. Good post. If RIM would lower their prices they could totally keep a foot in the game. They way overpriced the Playbook.

    • Overpriced? The Playbook is so solidly built? Have you used one? The Kindle Fire sounds (from what I’ve read) to be cheaply made. The Playbook is constructed like a premium device. I agree with the writer of the post though that Blackberry blew it by not focusing on the surrounding services. 😦

  4. Ha! The Fire will burn Apple down!

  5. The iPad is a “content consumption” device too – just a lot more expensive.

  6. I thought the Kindle strength was e-ink. Suppose to be better for battery life and reading outdoors. Doesn’t the new Kindle just admit defeat by adopting a screen like every other tablet? Disappointed to say the least.

  7. Good post mip! I’ve been looking at a lower cost option for my father and the Fire seems to be it! Will you do a detailed review when it comes out?

  8. Looks like nothing revolutionary from Apple today. Kindle is going to crush them in the next quarter!

  9. We can see that Apple is starting to simply evolve existing items. They can’t always reinvent things radically. doesn’t mean that the value isn’t still there. The products are great. RIP Steve Jobs – you will live on in the great ideas you’ve left the world.

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