Following the launch of the iPad early last year, there have been a slew of new tablets that have been released into the market, some of which have already been discontinued. None have really come close to touching the iPad, in both design or market penetration. However, after Wednesday’s announcement of the new Kindle Fire, this could very well change.
The Kindle Fire is not a direct competitor to the iPad. Its screen is roughly three inches smaller, it does not have a camera, and it is not 3G capable. However it is $300 cheaper, priced at $199. It also provides direct access to all the Amazon stores, like its app store, the Kindle book store, Amazon Instant Video, as well as the Amazon Cloud service.
Though the Kindle Fire will not (anytime soon) overtake the iPad, its low price will generate great interest and will place it as the clear number two in the market. So many of the devices released previously have been priced around the same as the iPad ($499), or even higher. This affordable price point will definitely work to Amazon’s advantage—when HP slashed the price of the TouchPad to $99 after it was discontinued, demand soared and stores quickly ran out of stock.
What’s potentially even more important is the vast access to content the Kindle Fire will provide its users. Similar to the iPad’s access to iTunes, the Kindle Fire will have direct access to the largest online retailer. Amazon’s e-book sales has for months been outselling all physical copies of books. Its MP3 store has also made headlines, with special promotions like Lady Gaga’s new album priced only at $0.99. And Amazon Video Instant has signed a fair share of deals to widen its video library. Unlike all other iPad competitors, this instantly puts the Kindle Fire at a great advantage. And what consumer does not like having a one-stop shop for all his/her online purchasing needs?
So will Amazon be successful with its Kindle Fire, or will it become another TouchPad? In short, it will be successful. Unless there is something horribly wrong with the device—and from the demo videos released so far, there doesn’t appear to be—it will be a hit. For consumers who have wanted to purchase an iPad but have held back because of its price tag—like myself—the Kindle Fire offers a reasonable alternative. And with the holiday season coming along, many, potentially even myself, will acquire one.