On the corner of my desk sits an Amazon Kindle that is gathering dust. It has not been touched for a month.
I found it convenient but not compelling. It was great to download a book fast, but its cheap plastic feel, a clunky user interface and black and white screen made it rather unattractive. Using the Kindle was a bit like going back to watch black and white TV in a world of sexy, sixty inch, 3D color televisions.
The Kindle is a dedicated e-reader that was never meant to be a multi-function tablet. Its success along with the success of the Apple iPad has made Amazon realize that a tablet in its product range may be a vital and necessary addition.
The Apple has dominated the tablet market selling over 25 million iPads since the launch last year, which I am sure Amazon watched with extreme interest.
The iPad has also defined the the new social mobile web where media, apps and browsing were mobile, enticing and even obsessive with the ability to login to Facebook and Twitter.
Amazon has just made an announcement of a new seven inch color tablet that could be the first serious indicator of a competitor that may potentially reduce Apple’s iPad table market dominance.
Amazon’s Tablet “Kindle Fire”
The $199 tablet has the following features
- Seven inch multi-color, multi-touch display
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Weighs 14.6 ounces
- Dual core processor
- Web browser called Amazon Silk
What it doesn’t have is a 3G capability, a camera or a microphone. (See Video Demo of the “Kindle Fire”)
Amazon’s YouTube Video of the Kindle Fire
The Two Key Advantages of the Kindle Fire
The Amazon “Kindle Fire” tablet’s edge is two fold:
- Its price, Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon says “we are building premium products at non-premium prices”
- Its access to a store over 18 million digital books, movies, songs, magazines, apps and games.
Just like Apple, Amazon has a superior solution to hardware only brands such as HTC and Samsung in that it has a total ecosystem that includes hardware, software and a Web-based store.
This announcement has just changed the tablet game and has just made every other Android tablet manufacturer’s tablet seem extremely expensive (for example HTC’s Flyer is priced at $499).
Implications for Google
What is also interesting is that Amazon even though it is using the Google Android operating system, has included its own browser called “Amazon Silk” that optimizes browsing for fast viewing of videos and games.
If the Amazon Fire becomes the dominant Android tablet and the pieces of the puzzle and pricing seem to strongly indicate that, then Google will have to respond.
So what are the implications for Google?
- Google will not control the Amazon Fire’s Browser
- Apps will be sold through Amazon’s App Store not Googles Android market and that will dilute its revenue potential
- Google may need to build its own tablet to compete with Amazon’s Fire so as to grow its Android app store
Possible Impact on Apple
There are even rumours that Amazon will be also building a 10 inch tablet that will compete head to head with Apple’s iPad and if that is the case Apple will have to respond with lower prices which will benefit consumers.
The other implication for Apple could be the comission of 30% that it currently takes for its apps from developers could be cut if Amazon takes serious market share from the Apple iPad.
There is nothing like a bit of competition to reduce prices and improve a product!
So would you buy an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet?
Image by Dekuwa