On buying one for my wife, that is.
I think the Kindle Fire will not be an iPad killer in the sense people will ignore the iPad, but in the sense it will sell huge to people who would otherwise not purchase an iPad or who were put off by its $500+ price point as a media consumption device. This isn’t going to bury the iPad, it’s going to bury the Nook.
Go ahead and balk, B&N fans, but let’s think about this: Amazon has a much broader range of content when you consider streaming video, and for someone who already has a Prime membership or has been considering one, it’s the dealmaker. $200 to have access to all my Amazon books, music and movies, as well as streaming, their App Store, and other offerings?
Back to my wife. She has a 2nd-gen Kindle and a 1st- or 2nd-gen iPod touch. The Kindle Fire will replace both, for the way she uses them. She will have all of her books available, and now she will be able to access her email and Facebook on the same device rather than switch to her iPod touch. Her music will probably fit on the Kindle Fire as well, and it’s not often she listens to music anyway.
If this demo is any indication, it’s going to have the same ease of use as her Kindle and iPod, too:
There seem to be a few stutters in button presses, but I’m wondering if that’s a limitation of the hardware or if it’s their Wi-Fi getting hammered by reporters. It could also be bugs to be worked out before the tablet actually sees release on November 15th. Wired seems to be wondering the same thing. Time will tell, but given Amazon’s track record, I imagine they’ll get it right. If it turns out it’s not quite as speedy as the iPad, then keep in mind, it’s 300 dollars cheaper.
I think their burying Android in the background is a good thing, too. Sure, a geek like me will want access to all the Android features, but the general population just doesn’t care. My wife (and kids!) took to the iPod with no problems. Her Samsung Android phone, however, has a confusing array of settings and menus, and even something as simple as deleting an email message was not immediately apparent. Amazon is keeping it simple because all of the technophobes and elderly users who embraced the early Kindle (and Nook) may just make the leap to a color display so they can keep up with their friends and family on the web.
Selling to geeks is good. Selling to everyone is better.
Speaking of geeks, now the color screen gives Amazon the ability to bring in a whole new market. Amazon is in a far better position to woo the big comics publishers than the many startups building iPad apps. The publishers are already selling the books through Amazon, they just need to add the digital deals. In fact, they may already have. Think that’s just a digital mockup of Watchmen as a convenient example? Nope. Watchmen is already available on the Kindle Store.
Then scroll a little below the book information, and you have this (click for full text):
This says they already have a comics viewer called Kindle Panel View. Now I guess it’s just a matter of time before we see what announcements the comics publishers may have.
For my own use, I’m not quite sold. I need something I can work on, something I can use to write. Access to my notes and being able to brainstorm via Evernote is one thing, but typing long-form on a 7″ screen is going to be a headache. There’s no Bluetooth in the Kindle Fire, so a wireless keyboard is out, and most reports are there’s no way to connect a wired keyboard. Japanese authors may be ready to thumb-type their novels, but that’s not a leap I’m prepared to take. The Kindle Fire probably isn’t going to fit the bill.
A second-generation Kindle Fire, however, may be another story…
Someone asked me whether I’m an Apple fan or an Amazon fan. I’ll put it this way: I have a lot of Apple hardware, but I’m all up in Amazon’s digital services on all those devices, as well as my Android phone. I’m sure I’ll be running on Apple desktops and laptops for the foreseeable future, but if Amazon puts out a future tablet I can write on and do a few of the other things I do with my iPad, then I will press that buy button with all speed.
Well done, Amazon.
UPDATE: Toldja they were doing comics. DC has announced a deal with Amazon to put digital graphic novels exclusively on the Kindle. And thus another line has been drawn in the battle between the Kindle and Nook.