Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

Summary: Amazon has positioned the Kindle Fire as the tablet for the rest of us, not the iPad-toting nor Android techie crowd. It will kick off the next stage of the tablet phase, in a big way.

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The big news this week is the Kindle Fire starting to hit eager customers' hands. The $199 tablet from Amazon is being touted as a big competitor to the Apple iPad, and also to the crowded Android tablet field. While it's true the Kindle Fire will compete with all of those tablets, the beauty of it is that it is the tablet for the rest of us.

Android tablets buyers are predominantly the tech-savviest in the gadget market. They appreciate the inclusion of dual, even quad-core processors, USB ports, and other whiz-bang hardware features. This is the crowd anxiously awaiting the arrival of Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

The iPad crowd is by-and-large quite different. These buyers are looking for simplicity and design. The typical iPad owner doesn't care about ports or other technical features, he/she just wants the tablet to do what is needed, and easily.

The Kindle Fire is the tablet for the rest of the market. The reasonable price of less than $200 puts it in the realm of an impulse buy. No doubt many buyers will see one in a Target, Best Buy, or other retail shop they frequent, and pick one up to see what all the fuss is about.

Amazon has taken a good approach by positioning the Kindle Fire as an ereader that does much more. The Kindle has been around for a good while and most prospective customers are familiar with it. More importantly, they are not intimidated by it, and that will be big when they see one in the store.

Many non-techie "regular" folks are already curious about the tablet phenomenon started by the iPad. They have been too intimidated by the high prices, and their lack of familiarity of how to use a tablet. The Kindle Fire will grab them due to the familiar Amazon brand and the Kindle name, and draw them in with the easy-to-use interface.

Amazon has reportedly gotten a million pre-orders for the Kindle Fire, and while that is impressive it is only the beginning. When mainstream consumers get a taste of the Fire, that $199 price is going to make the fly off retailers' shelves. The next phase of the tablet era will be born, as the Kindle Fire will be the tablet for the rest of the market. And that market is huge.

Image credit: ZDNet's Larry Dignan

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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35 comments
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  • What is your source?

    "The $199 tablet from Amazon is being touted as a big competitor to the Apple iPad"

    Who is touting this as a competitor to iPad? It isn't Apple and unless I've missed the press release, it isn't Amazon either.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @toddybottom It was on ABC news last night. It is happening.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

        @JamesKendrick

        JK, I'm curious as to whether you think that someone looking at a $200 Kindle is really in the same market as someone looking at an iPad? Are these the same markets or different markets?
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

        JK, For $25 more I'd rather go with the Nook Tablet, upgradable memory, & NOT Amazon!
        Jere01
      • Try the Kindle Fire and then try the Nook

        Nook hands down!<br><br>Kindle Fire is a disappointment.<br><br>Its buggy, it freezes, the browser is just not good.<br><br>For 225 you have a Nook Color<br>For 250 you have a Dual Core Nook Color that runs faster<br>For 275 you get an Asus Transformer (the real deal) 10' display!<br>For 294 you get an HTC Flyer<br>For 378 you get an Asus Slyder (now we're talking! 10' + keyboard!).<br>For 400 you get a Sony Tablet S or a Samsung Tablet.<br><br>If you are in for under 200 dollars<br><br>Idolian Turbo 8 has the specs. (havent tried it.. sorry) but at 149 with a capacitive display, mic and camera, its still better than the Kindle Fire it does have a 1 year warranty and 1.2GHz Cortex processor.<br><br>On the net a lot of people like the Coby Kyros MID7015 for 129. Again, can't say more than that. Never used this unit either.<br><br>Regardless, when ever possible go for the 10' screen, it makes all the difference in the world. The Nook Color and the new version are the only sub 10' units worth using. The HTC Flyer rocks, but the screen ends up being just a bit too small.
        Uralbas
      • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

        @JamesKendrick

        @Habiloso
        Yep, aunt of mine for her college going kid is going the Fire route instead of an iPad. She has no clue about any of this at all, and no exposure. For her - $200 Amazon Kindle tablet that functions for college textbooks as well as "other things", or a $500 iPad that does "other things". No brainer for her. This market is the antithesis of the power user market.

        To top it off, I'm what I consider a "pragmatic power user". I've been making a living off tech since the late 80's and burned out on the latest thing ages ago when there are more affordable options. One thing I figured out, is something that is "good enough" costs 1/2 to 1/3 of the Unobtanium 5000 that just came out. The following year the "good enough" device will outperform the Unobtanium 5000, but won't be able to keep up with the Unobtanium 6000 just released. BUT typically I'll have spent less on 2 separate devices, than just ONE big one, and for the second year, I'll have something better than the guy that purchased the "5000" model and doesn't have budget to upgrade again. Am I ever running the latest? Most of the time not, unless there is a bonafide mission requirement that dictates it.

        True story - mid 90's my brother was fixated on a "5 year" computer. I recommended for something more affordable and just upgrade in a couple of years, but he wouldn't have it. As a consultant I was a distributor for what he wanted, and got it for him. It was 4 times more powerful than anything I had. At the end of 5 years though, I'd spent the same money as he had, but had 3 computers, one which was the same as his roughly and two much more powerful. His was coughing and wheezing.

        Sooo, I've got a Fire. It's a great little device, it more than gets the job done for books and magazines, web browsing is good, gaming is good for a mobile device, and I'm happy. It is also 7", which is about as big as a tablet can get if you are using it as a book/magazine reader as well. In fact, my wife would like it just a bit smaller because the Fire for her is too big, so I think there is definitely a market for 6" tablets as well. iPad sized itself out of the market with 10". Next year I'll get the Kindle Fire2/Inferno/whatever that will better than the current iPad and still have spent less than on an iPad.
        admiraljkb
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @toddybottom Sorry, duplicate
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @toddybottom Triplicate
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @toddybottom OK....Ok that was great one.... but guys for a moment check here some new type of phone that you will never seen before: http://www.technologyfazer.com/nokia-gem-concept-entire-touch-mobile.html
      nomikhokher
  • Don't see the appeal

    I've read a lot about the KF and just don't see the appeal for it, unless you use Amazon for all your content. Like people who have a large investment in iTunes there is a big market that doesn't use either service / ecosystem.

    KF is a glorified shopping cart. The hardware is crippled and without a prime membership I guess it would appeal to those that "want a tablet like experience".

    Considering I am approaching 5tb of media I have pretty much every possible movie and cd I could ever want. I want a device I can sync this content onto easily and use it. Right now thats Blackberry Playbook. Soon as they have a MKV codec I will buy another 64gb model. I'd love OTA support also.

    How does one sync their OWN media onto KF, it's a nightmare on iPad.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @MobileAdmin Amazon has the Cloud Drive/Player that lets you do just that.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

        @JamesKendrick

        Not with 8gb of storage and unable to expand it.
        MobileAdmin
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @MobileAdmin Another duplicate, don't know why this is happening.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

        @JamesKendrick Because ZDNET forum software is horrible!
        slickjim
      • James

        @JamesKendrick
        if this happens to you as a ZDNet blogger, imagine how the rest of us feel, seeing as we don't have your pull ;)
        William Farrell
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @MobileAdmin yes you can use the amazon cloud and you are right, 8gb is a limit on this device, but if all your music and videos are in the cloud, you dont need more storage. granted to get to the cloud you need to be connected and since this is only wifi then you are limited there, but honestly, where are you going to be where you cant find a hotspot where you need to watch a movie?
      dodgefan67
      • For some, their own homes.

        @dodgefan67: Not everybody is techie enough to have their computer or home network set up for Wi-Fi. I think what we're going to find is a lot of people buying one and pretty quickly putting it down because it doesn't do enough. Yes, as an Amazon-only device it will be as good if not better than the Kindle e-reader, but it simply won't compete as a Tablet.
        Vulpinemac
  • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

    Love it. Getting an Android is like buying a Linux machine. It can do anything... as long as you can figure out how to get it to do anything at all.

    Apple is, well, pretty.

    Finally, there is something for the mainstream.
    Practicality
    • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

      @Practicality Nah, Android ha lots of Apps and can do a ton of things.
      slickjim
  • RE: Kindle Fire: The tablet for the rest of us

    So James, hows that ZDNET talkback software workin' for ya? :)
    whatagenda