Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

Summary: Amazon's Kindle tablet reportedly resembles the PlayBook and that's bad news for RIM.

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What if you could have Research in Motion's PlayBook with different software and better content connections? And what if this tablet was cheaper than the PlayBook by a wide margin?

Those questions must be downright haunting to RIM executives right now. MG Siegler at TechCrunch says the Kindle tablet name is Fire, but the more interesting item is that Amazon's device looks a lot like the PlayBook. According to Ryan Block at GDGT, the Kindle tablet is a PlayBook made by Quanta.

RIM's PlayBook has decent hardware. What it doesn't have is apps and native email/calendar---at least yet. The PlayBook also doesn't have much in the way of sales either---200,000 units in the last quarter or half of what was expected.

I can see RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie sweating now as he mumbles about QNX being the future.

The PlayBook deathblow comes when Amazon prices this Kindle tablet. If the Fire comes in at $250, RIM will have to match and probably go lower. Sure you could argue that QNX is way better than what Amazon's version of Android can do, but few shoppers are going to care. RIM could find itself saddled with a ton of PlayBooks if it's not careful.

If this Amazon launch plays out the way it's expected, RIM is in trouble with the PlayBook. The ledger looks like this:

  • RIM and Amazon hardware would be roughly equal.
  • QNX vs. Android 2.1 advantage to RIM.
  • Movies, e-books, apps, TV, music integration goes to Amazon.
  • Overall advantage goes to Amazon because no Prime subscriber is going to care. And by the way no consumer at Best Buy will care either.

RIM needs to step it up with PlayBook 2.0 in a hurry. The Amazon impact on RIM is huge. If RIM's QNX update in mid-October doesn't wow the masses it's going to look like Android 2.1 is better. That perception will taint QNX, which is the linchpin of RIM's superphone strategy.

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Topics: BlackBerry, Amazon, Hardware, Mobility, Security, Tablets

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17 comments
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  • Larry the Down with RIM cheerleader

    Does Larry write articles slamming RIM everyday? Wonderful a tablet that "looks" like the Playbook. Amazing how most tablets look like each other. Where were the articles saying the same about the Galaxy 10.1 and iPad 2?

    Let's see what Amazon actually announces and the hardware specs. With RIM's price reduction they are right around $249 for 16GB model.

    Has there been any Android tablet that has wowed people? The OS is not really geared for a tablet. Honeycomb is still very rough. Slam RIM for lack of 3rd party Apps, no NDK and the typical no native email but the QNX OS is very nice and works as advertised. OS 2.0 needs to be something special. If not I'll slam RIM myself.

    Like Apple, it makes sense to buy into Amazon's ecosystem if you consume it. I prefer to bring my own media which seems to be growing more and more harder to do. Buy the tablet, and keep the credit card handy to keep on consuming.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

      The problem is not media or commentators. The problem is arrogance of RIM Management, wherein they didn't care to the complaints that users were giving since at least 5 years. Now they are waking up to the competition as they totally underestimated rivals. Before you complain about Larry see what CEO Jim was doing and his passion to ICE Hockey when apple was eating RIM's lunch.
      env
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

        @env arrogance, hockey what the heck are you talking about. RIM troubles are do to the lack of innovation. A CEO can have other interest outside work, remember Balsille hired a team of lawyers to take care of his hockey interests.
        HabsSuck
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

      @MobileAdmin i agree this author has a dislike for RIM, it is quite obvious. What is also obvious is Amazon will have reduced specs if it wants to price its tablet at $250, slower processor, screen resolution, multi tasking capabilities, etc..
      HabsSuck
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    RIM should drastically change Management and should stand to its name Research In Motion and NOT Research On Pause. Then and only then, RIM has any scope to survive. Otherwise, they will go like Palm. Writings on the wall are crystal clear, I hope somebody in RIM is paying attention.
    env
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

      @env we will see in October what RIM will have up its sleeve, if they take the existing Playbook, shrink it, add phone capabilities and the required apps then they got a winner. PB UI is excellent and a joy to use but personal i am hoping for the QNX touch qwerty keyboard model.
      HabsSuck
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    A playbook 2 is not the answer. Price, distribution and functionality are going against the Playbook. Amazon hasa great retail platform to present its tanlet to its hige customer base. RIM has a few airport stores and absolutely no retail support from Beat Buy, Staples and wireless carriers. I spent hours shopping to get one at any of these on laumxh day and failed. FAILED to spend my money because nobody at BBY or Staples knew what the Playbook was on launch day. No invemtory. It is a sad day when EARLY adopters can't spend their money.
    Furthermore,any tablet coming out with price parity with Apple is doomed. Why would consumers spend the same $$$$ for LESS and away from the industry standard of the ipad? A huge hardware subsidy is needed to take second place, similar to what HP did with Touchpad.
    flyguy29
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    I don't think the writer is exhibiting a bias here. The "Kindle Fire" or whatever it is christened will be much more of a pain for ALL of the non-iPad market than the iPad. Since Amazon already offers a good subset of the Android Market, it will start with a big leg up on RIM and the now defunct Touchpad. It will offer the full iTunes-like ecosystem for its device. It may be rougher around the edges than iPad/iTunes, but it will still come close to the expereince unlike all of the rest of the Android universe. It is going to be a rough Christmas season for Samsung, Asus, Motorola, Acer, and the rest of the Android club, and maybe excruciating for RIM.
    dksmidtx
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

      @dksmidtx <br><br>No bias?<br><br>He states that the hardware will be roughly equal. Let's lay it out and see:<br><br>Playbook, 2 cameras, HD video recording; Kindle Fire, none<br>Playbook, 16GB at the low-end; Kindle Fire, 6GB<br>Playbook, High resolution screen; Kindle Fire, unknown, reports indicate not that high<br>Playbook, HDMI out and currently the only tablet capable of playing full 1080p standard profile; Kindle Fire, unknown but doubtful
      wizec
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    If the Amazon tablet is a good enough and priced right $200-$250 and it is integrated with Amazon ecosystem, then all the other tablets are in trouble.
    In terms of RIM, the Playbook is already in trouble in the Enterprise because Apple has managed it better.
    owlwise
  • blow

    with only 200.000 shipped (not sold) to the channel last quarter (after 500.000 the prior quarter) it doesn't take a pundit to realize that the playbook doesn't need any help to be saved from its pitiful existence. it is dead already. and the kindle fire (seriously?) is a slightly better nook. and we know how that took off. but it won't matter. amazon will tell us how awesome their sales are (of course again without giving any real numbers) and the tech press will swallow it again without any questions asked. most of the pundits still think the kindle was a success. what a joke.
    bannedfromzdnetagainandagain
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    You got that title wrong! You really meant iPad.

    Why? Rim's Playbook is insignificant in #.

    Whereas, the one who has most to lose, is Apple.
    WinTard
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle Fire could be death blow to RIM's PlayBook

    If you're in the US i believe the conclusion have validity, however outside of the US Amazon's digital media offer is severely handicapped by licencing issues which negates the benefit case. Furthermore do business users really care about these services, I don't think so. RIM still has a chance if they get back to their core customer base and focus on security and business based functionality.
    ejabber
  • Not even close to the same

    Other than a similar look and size, the Amazon Fire is such a inferior device.
    No need to give you a list of the feature difference, anybody with a little
    knowledge can find it.

    The Blackberry Playbook is an Amazingly useful tablet with so much more power than the Fire, it's like comparing a computer limited to AOL to one with Full Internet Access.

    Anybody that compares them is exposed to the world as a person with quite limited technical knowledge.
    John Hanks
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