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.