New product launches are exciting affairs, but it drives some writers to the brink of stupidity. Amazon’s tablet announcement this morning is no different.
I have no doubt in my mind that the Kindle Fire will be a successful product for Amazon. In fact, I think it could easily grab the second spot in the tablet market behind Apple.
However, it’s not an iPad killer and I don’t think Amazon is positioning it that way. The press may be, but Amazon isn’t.
Here’s what I said last week about the Kindle Fire:
Amazon has a solid name among consumers. Millions of people shop there and they are trusted. As soon as Amazon comes out with a tablet, people will start buying. Even though it will be based on Android, consumers will only see as far as the Amazon name. People will look at the device as an expanded Kindle rather than a tablet and buy it for that reason. There is a whole subset of users that would be happy to have a tablet to read books, surf the Web and get email. That’s all they want, and all they need. Amazon’s tablet will be perfect for them.
At $199 people are going to view the Kindle Fire as a device for reading books, shopping at Amazon or surfing the Web and getting email. It’s not going to touch the high-end of the market where the iPad lives. Those people are still going to get an iPad, although they may buy a Kindle Fire for their kids or spouse.
The companies that have to worry about the Kindle Fire are other Android-based tablet-makers. They are in real trouble at this point because they’ve already shown they can’t compete on the high-end with the iPad and now I don’t think they’ll be able to compete on the low-end with the Kindle Fire.