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.
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!