Amazon Introduces Kindle Fire Tablet Device

Discussion
Sep 29, 2011
George Anderson

While most of the coverage seems to be focused on whether the new Kindle Fire from Amazon.com is an iPad killer, it seems at first glance that Barnes & Noble’s Nook may be more at immediate risk.

The Kindle Fire comes with a seven-inch screen, free data storage on the cloud and a new Android-based browser, Amazon Silk. It also provides access to Amazon’s wealth of video content and Kindle books.

What the new tablet does not have is a camera, a model with 3G connectivity or the number of apps available on Apple’s iPad. But with a price of $199, Amazon is looking for millions of consumers to buy the Kindle Fire anyway.

“Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we’ve been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release. “With Kindle Fire, you have instant access to all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, the convenience of Amazon Whispersync, our revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, the speed and power of a state-of-the-art dual-core processor, a vibrant touch display with 16 million colors in high resolution, and a light 14.6 ounce design that’s easy to hold with one hand — all for only $199. We’re offering premium products, and we’re doing it at non-premium prices.”

As a point of price comparison, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color e-reader retails for $249. Apple’s more feature-rich iPad models start at $499.

A report on GigaOM says that an overlooked feature of the Kindle Fire could spell trouble for Netflix. The tablet comes with a free 30-day subscription to Amazon Prime, which includes access to streaming videos over that period. According to the report, “The packaging of a free video service on the tablet has the potential to be a game changer in the streaming video world.”

Discussion Question: What will the Kindle Fire mean for Amazon.com and its competitors?

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17 Comments on "Amazon Introduces Kindle Fire Tablet Device"


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Dick Seesel
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I agree with the premise that Barnes & Noble is the biggest short-term target of the Kindle Fire. And keep in mind that Amazon also launched three other Kindle models yesterday, including a basic Wi-Fi-only model with an aggressive price of $79. It’s a powerful flanking strategy for the Kindle brand, and also allows Amazon to develop a more sophisticated tablet in the future that can compete more effectively against the iPad.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
9 years 7 months ago

It’s getting great reviews, even from some very discerning tech pubs, but Kindle Fire will not slay the iPad, anymore than Smart Car is likely to take out BMW. What Amazon has done is a brilliant job of taking the Kindle from being a one-trick pony e-reader to being more of a multi-functional tablet — and quite a capable one at that. And while it may nibble at the lowest levels of the iPad market, it’s still no iPad, given its lower standard GB and lack of 3G.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 7 months ago

Can Amazon do anything wrong? I love these guys. They really know how to brand themselves and develop the ancillary hardware to help market their core products. Is it an iPad killer? Not if the user needs a camera and 3G. At $199, it’s a serious contender for market share. But otherwise, they should still sell out prior to Christmas and hey, it’s in color!

Anne Howe
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I’m an Apple fan all the way, but this might be my first tablet. For $199, it’s the perfect anniversary gift for my hubby. Once we both get up-to-speed, then perhaps I may upgrade to the iPad. I’ll keep you all posted on this journey.

I tend to agree that Barnes & Noble is the most at risk. I don’t think I’ve purchased a book in another location but Amazon.com in three years, except for a two-book spree at the close-out sale at Borders last month.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

As wonderful as the Apple iPad is, the tablet market needs a viable competitor. The most notable feature is its price. At $199 the Kindle Fire is already half the price of an Apple iPad. The Kindle Fire’s features are aligned with the top three uses of a Tablet: e-mail/e-reader, browsing the web and streaming music, movies and video. Another interesting divergence from Apple, the Kindle Fire includes free cloud-based storage eliminating the need for synching with cables. The Apple iPad certainly changed the digital device landscape further empowering us as shoppers and consumers, but we will all benefit when there is competition. We need a Pepsi to complement the Coke.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 7 months ago
As Amazon joins the tablet battle with the Kindle Fire, it spells trouble for the Nook and other Android-based tablets. It means little to Apple and its iPad. The Fire does not have enough features to complete with Apple, but it does have a $200 price point, making it attractive hardware to consumers wanting a tablet, but not willing to shell out $500 for the iPad. With 80% of the tablet market, Apple will not be worried, just as it does not worry about competitors to the iPod. There are two key differences between the Fire and the iPad: 1) Amazon, through Silk, has linked the Fire to the cloud, and 2) Amazon made this device to sell content, where Apple sells hardware. Apple will soon negate the cloud advantage with the launch of iCloud, and it has no intention of getting into the content business. Rather than looking for the next iPad killer (remember that pundits are still looking for the illusive iPod killer), let’s see how the introduction of the Fire can enable… Read more »
Rick Moss
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I think Amazon will sell a lot of these. It’s a great, logical upgrade for their Kindle line. I read one analyst characterizing Fire as less of a product than a service — tying more seamlessly into the Amazon network of offerings.

As Doug commented, however, this falls somewhat short of being an iPad killer. The lack of 3G connectivity is a no-go for commuters and road warriors who use iPads to read email, surf the web, and buy stuff while on the move.

Joel Rubinson
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I will give a personal reaction. iPads have both a business purpose and a personal media consumption purpose. As a media consumption tool, it is somewhat of a toy, maybe more fun than a smartphone but not by much. Hence, I went 4G HTC and am very happy watching Netflix movies on the phone. As a business tool for mobile business needs, it has valid and irreplaceable purpose (like inventory auditing or medical recording on site). Hence I think the Kindle fire will compete for a lot of the iPad business motivated by being a toy (play games, movies, etc.) because of the much lower price. Business commercial adoption of iPad will continue without competition from the Kindle Fire.

Tony Orlando
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

It should sell very well and with a much lower price point, it should wake up Apple to create an even better model for the same cost. True Capitalism here at work.

Ronnie Perchik
Guest
Ronnie Perchik
9 years 7 months ago

This is a significant step forward for Amazon; they’re now competing with the iPad. The additions they’ve made, which will allow the consumer to use the Kindle Fire as more of an all-around tablet rather than just an e-reader, will gain them further loyalty from current and future Kindle users. Consumers no longer need to utilize Netflix to watch streaming movies, nor need to be envious of Nook consumers for their fancy color screens.

They may offer less than the iPad in terms of apps, camera, etc, but they have a lower price point. And while I do believe that gadget-envy plays a role in which device a consumer selects, consumers not looking to spend 500 bucks on a piece of technology could opt-in for the Fire.

Doug Fleener
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

“I know the iPad, and Mr. Fire you’re no iPad.” (Borrowing from Lloyd Bentsen’s famous line to Dan Quayle.) And that’s exactly why the Fire will do well. The Fire is not a iPad killer, but rather smartly capture a totally under served market.

I do think the Nook is in trouble…then again I think the Nook has always been in trouble. Like many of you I travel a lot, and I couldn’t tell you when I’ve seen a Nook other than at a B&N store. (Sorry, B&N.)

I think the real threat is to other retailers. Ordering just about everything you need in life with one touch (Prime) just got even easier.

David Dorf
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

I pre-ordered a Kindle Fire without reading a single article or spec because at $200 I can’t go wrong. I need another e-Reader in the house, and all the additional features are just frosting on the cake! This isn’t going to replace my beloved iPad, but it is certainly keeping B&N out of my household.

I don’t expect Fire to impact iPad sales, but I believe it will crush the Playbook and Nook.

Kai Clarke
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Sales, sales and more sales. Why buy a book, rent a movie when you can get it online from Amazon (and watch videos)? Competitors aren’t just competing on a hardware front, they have to provide access and apps. Kindle Fire does all of this at 1/3 the price of Apple? Killer!

Stan Barrett
Guest
Stan Barrett
9 years 7 months ago

I agree with the comment on other retailers beware.

My son “needed” two DVDs for film class in high school. One readily available, the other obscure (Magnificent Seven and the Sevan Samauri). Called several stores and then defaulted to Amazon. Ordered yesterday before 6 and will be at the house today. Caveat–we are Prime members and live in a major metropolitan area–SO bonus Amazon give us one-day shipping for free. Double bonus–saved on gas and other items that I am sure we would have purchased at a Big Box DVD source.

Kindle Fire reminds me of the old cell phone model–phone for free (kind of) just let us start charging you for the service/content (forever).

Mark Burr
Guest
9 years 7 months ago
I absolutely love my $114 Kindle. Anyone that had reservations of buying it due to advertising being included and spent the extra $25 didn’t really do anything for themselves than lose the $25 bucks. If you take the added features and function of the Fire and consider it for $60 bucks from the full base price of the existing Kindle, it’s a bargain. Sure, it’s not an iPad. I think the premise that it’s intended to be an iPad killer is false. What it does do is completely enhance the Kindle experience. Consider what the Kindle is, as I did. I wanted one for what it is, not for what it is not. The Kindle is an absolutely great experience. The iPad is something completely different — completely different. I would speculate that those who own them didn’t buy them on the premise that those who bought a Kindle also bought that device. They are apples and oranges (no pun intended). What Amazon can do is pay attention to the iPad as a point of… Read more »
George Anderson
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

From Fortune: Amazon is losing about $50 per Kindle Fire, while Apple is making about 30 percent on each iPad sale. The numbers come from Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Mark Price
Guest
Mark Price
9 years 7 months ago

It seems to me that most of the non-iPad devices have hoped to “mean” a great deal to their firms, and all of them have underperformed to date. The iPad juggernaut is a daunting one indeed, with growth coming from customers, already trained to the iPad OS, simply upgrading over time.

The Fire has two things going for it: a very attractive price point, and the installed base of Kindle users, which are not as large as the iPad group, but still meaningful. The combination of the two factors should appeal to customers seeking book-reading online at a great price point, with some Android features added in. I would rate the opportunity as a “B” — it will become a decent business, but in this iteration, not a game-changer.

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