As expected, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire today for $200. While it is no iPad killer, it is a very interesting tablet that will be the hot tech gift this holiday season. And for a lot of us, it will be more than good enough as our tablet of choice.
Amazon’s strategy here is brilliant. Instead of trying to challenge Apple’s iPad at the high-end, they have chosen to take on book rival Barnes & Noble at the low-end. And they have almost completely taken B&N’s Nook Color and latest generation of eInk Nook off the table for a lot of consumers. Quite an accomplishment given how formidable the Nook has been over the past year (disclosure: I own and use a Nook. It’s a great eReader. I will give it to my wife when I get my Kindle Fire.)
Aside from the unique user interface layer, Amazon has brought together an element Apple can’t match; the power of Amazon Web Services. The Amazon Silk web browser will become the standard for mobile browsing should they offer this app outside of the Kindle Fire. I don’t see any reason to believe they won’t have an Android or even iOS version of the browser available soon. It’s a brilliant move to change the game away from hardware innovation that Apple masters to infrastructure innovation Amazon is known for. And by stocking it with Amazon Prime videos they have created a potential annuity stream Apple can only dream of.
So my quest for a tablet is over. I will buy an Amazon Kindle Fire as soon as they will ship it to me. And it’s not that the Kindle Fire is better than the iPad — far from it — but because Amazon has chosen to sell the device as a service and not a piece of hardware.
Perhaps my enthusiasm was misplaced for the upcoming Amazon tablet? In just a couple days we will know for sure but it looks like the most “successful” Android tablets this holiday season will be color eBook readers that have heavily customized user interfaces nothing like stock Android. And new entrant Amazon Kindle Fire is just a “stopgap” and not the real deal.
So I might just pickup the new Nook Color this year. Or a refurb iPad 2. We’ll see which in November unless Amazon pulls one out of the hat on Wednesday.
At present there is no tablet market. Only an iPad market.
Photo via Wikipedia
In my reading this morning I noticed that Barnes & Noble launched an eBook store so I checked it out. The most interesting part of their service is their device strategy which is to support computers and mobile phones including Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone. While I would probably read books on an iPhone if I had one, it’s a bit on the small side, not to mention the battery issues one would have to deal with on such a device.
To test it out I downloaded the Mac version of their reader software and went into the store to check out the selection. I immediately saw the book samples like you get for free like in Amazon‘s Kindle store and clicked on the button. Nothing happened. So I clicked on it again and it said I already owned that sample and to open the eReader software to download. When you go to the reader, there is no menu option to download. And if I go to my eBook library online I don’t see the book sample listed. So I’m stuck without a book sample to check out except their not-so-helpful documentation.
If an advanced computer user like me can’t figure out how to use this software, there is no way the mainstream will figure this out. I hope Barnes & Noble succeeds here as competition with keep Amazon and Sony honest and prices will be lower for consumers. But I’m not impressed by my first look at the eReader software on my laptop. I guess I should get that iPhone to see if it works better there.
Posted via email from Tim’s posterous