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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