The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

Summary: The price is great, but the Amazon Kindle Fire is more of a second-generation Barnes & Nobles Nook knock-off than a major Android tablet release, never mind being an iPad killer.

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The Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

This? This is what all the excitement about? Don't get me wrong. The just unveiled Amazon Kindle Fire is a fine low-end Android Linux-based e-reader/tablet, but it's not a major Android tablet and it's certainly no iPad killer.

While waiting to get my hands on one-come on Amazon, you've shipped enough books to my place to know my address by heart-I already know enough to know what the Kindle Fire is and isn't. First, it's not a full-powered tablet. If you want a full-sized tablet with Android under the hood I recommend you give the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 a try.

It is, however a nice media consumer device. When I look at the Kindle Fire, I don't see so much a tablet as the next generation of the e-reader. Instead of just e-books, the Kindle Fire will let you watch movies, off Amazon Prime's newly enlarged video library, listen to music, and get just enough of the Web, with its new Silk Web browser, that you can use it for some basic Web browsing.

Put it all together, and I see Amazon's next generation competitor for Barnes & Nobles Nook Color much more so than I do a full-powered tablet. Of course, with a price-tag of $199, it could be very popular.

At the same time, I wouldn't whip out my credit-card to order one just yet. After all, there's rumors afoot that this is a "stopgap" Kindle tablet being shoved out the door just in time for the holidays. I could see that. In addition, Barnes & Nobles will soon be releasing its holiday season update of the Nook Color 2.

As it stands now, the dual-core powered, Android-powered Amazon Kindle, with its 7-inch color display looks to define a halfway spot between full-powered tablets and e-readers. I strongly suspect the Nook Color 2 will soon try to occupy the same sweet spot.

What I think is more interesting in the short run though is Amazon's new line-up of e-readers. With prices starting at $79, brand-name e-readers have never been cheaper. Writers, readers, and publishers have long been debating just how quickly we're all going to be turning to e-books. I know the answer now. With prices like these, it will be even faster than we'd ever imagined.

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Topics: Hardware, Amazon, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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32 comments
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  • iPad Killer? Probably not - but I think it will outsell the iPad

    I think that you may be selling the Kindle Fire short. My reasoning is simple - pure economics. The Kindle Fire is within reach of a much greater audience that can't afford devices like the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.... the price point is what sells it.

    Notice that their are far more Honda and Toyota cars on the Road, than their are Mercedes... sure the Mercedes is higer-end but the vast majority of the population can't afford one.

    I think Amazon is on the right path here.
    pheible
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @pheible Not that Toyotas and Hondas are particularly cheap, either. As is true for the Kindle - $200 is still a good bit of money. Get one for multiple members of a family, and you're quickly looking at a substantial investment. I agree with your assessment in general, though.
      WebSiteManager
      • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

        @WebSiteManager Well obviously... if you are going to start buying multiple kindle fires for the whole family as an example you have to do the same for the ipad. In which case you just went from well under 1000 dollars to nearly, if not over 3000 dollars. Thus widening the gap between "people who can afford" and "those that cannot".
        kanati8869
  • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

    A stripped down Kindle Fire is no match for the Playbook, which you can now get at Staples B&M for $250.

    Playbook specs:

    Starts at 16GB ($250 at Staples B&M stores)
    Front camera, 3 Mega Pixels
    Rear camera, 5 Mega Pixels
    HD video recording
    Built-in Video Chat
    Full Flash playback so you can watch videos on Amazon.com, Crackle.com and Youtube.com/shows, etc.
    HDMI out and can play full 1080p standard profile on high-end flat panels

    Also, the CPU/GPU combo in the playbook is the best of the field right now, see the Anandtech.com review.

    Within weeks we'll have QNX OS 2.0, which will have an Android virtual machine to run android apps, quite possibly including Netflix, which just opened up its app to almost all Android devices in the last week or so.
    wizec
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @jacec But with the playbook don't you have to tether to a blackberry phone to run a number of applications such as email etc.?
      dlh06
      • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

        @dlh06

        No. With the Playbook, you MAY bridge with a Blackberry phone to get native email, such as corporate email, but it is not required.

        You can easily use Hotmail, Gmail, etc through the full browser (not mobile).

        In October, RIM will launch native apps for email and calendaring with the release of OS 2.0. I'm not sure why these are so important to people when the web versions work so well...
        wizec
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @jacec But does it run Android? Ah, the point is made.
      timspublic1@...
      • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

        @timspublic1@... No Playbook runs on QNX, a newly OS that RIM acquired. Unfortunately QNX is still in its infancy. It was brought before it is matured. Maybe next year it will be a real OS. But maybe too late as its brand was already spoiled by poor Marketing of RIM.
        env
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @jacec But why anybody needs Playbook when it doesn't have native email? The number of applications are literally nothing compared to iPAD. You need BB phone to bridge and it is a real pain. Overall Playbook is half-baked. That is primary reason why there are 800,000 Playbooks still sitting in the inventory. Maybe reduction to $100 or $50 will make users to think about Playbook, but it is too late in the game.
      env
  • Android Tablet Killer

    It won't kill the iPad, though there'll be some people who may not go for an iPad if they're satisfied with what they get on a Kindle Fire.

    However, competing Android slates will have a steeper climb than ever for brain and market share.
    WebSiteManager
  • The ultimate strawman

    Way to argue against something that no one is saying.

    Please quit your job SJVN, you are incompetent.
    toddybottom
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @toddybottom

      You are the incompetent one.
      czorrilla
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @toddybottom - could not have said it better or more succinctly! Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has to blob about something to get paid however... no matter how fallacious his post. He is the Preston Gralla of the Linux world.
      sunworks
  • Every table is a nice media consumer device

    "It is, however a nice media consumer device"

    Each is fungible for the consumption of content since non has the features for content creation. Given its price point, it is well positioned to take a significant portion of the android market.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

      @facebook@... Very eloquently put. I agree.
      Imrhien
  • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

    They are going after the masses that either don't want to splurge or can't afford to splurge on an iPad or similarly priced tablet. And when you look at tablets most people are using them as "media consumer devices". This is tightly integrated into Amazon's infrastructure so I think will deliver very well on that front. <br><br>Their marketing is brilliant: "There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp....We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices." <br><br>And think the iPad isn't a media consumer device? Try using an iPad for work. Basic apps like e-mail, contacts, calendaring are junk on the iPad and there often aren't good third party replacements. Well, I take that back, you can run Windows and Windows apps on Citrix!

    But agree it's no iPad killer. The people who buy boutique devices will still buy them. But Amazon is not a boutique device vendor. They sell a large volume of cheap devices in order to sell services.
    zlgtr
    • Nothing wrong with iPad email and calendaring

      @zlgtr
      Contact management isn't fantastic, I'll give you that.

      Email and calendaring though? I very rarely do any of that from my computer anymore.

      "those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less"

      I like that a lot.
      toddybottom
  • RE: The Amazon Kindle Fire is no iPad Killer

    This is exactly what I've been saying all along! It was obvious this Fire was a shot at the Nook Color more than anything else on the market.
    slickjim
  • It's called Android, not Android Linux

    nice try though.
    otaddy
  • This device gains new market opportunities for Amazon...

    This device gains new market opportunities for Amazon - any other discussion is off the mark. They are hitting a price point with an attractive looking product that will gain users access to their content. Amazon really doesn't give a cr@p about how well it plays with geeks. They don't care if other products spec out better.
    They are after the revenue streams that will be created by consumers accessing their content, not building tablets to satisfy geeks. (FWIW - I am a geek, too)
    BlueCollarGeek