This week Amazon took the medal for one of the worst kept secrets in technology – its first tablet, the Kindle Fire. In doing so it’s placed itself as a major tech brand, creating the first credible alternative to the iPad.
At last, a tablet worth mentioning in the same breath as the iPad. As Amazon unveiled its slick looking new tablet, it showed the technology industry (at least the part that isn’t Apple) how it’s done.
The Kindle Fire isn’t an ‘iPad killer’, but that’s a good thing. It’s not trying to be the iPad.
Just the right kind of cheap
While no UK release has been confirmed yet, the Kindle Fire will sell for $199 in the US. That’s $300 less than the cheapest iPad – a massive margin.
Clearly this means some compromises have to be made, but Amazon hasn’t skimped on the quality of the screen and has created a slick looking interface that keeps the nuts and bolts out of sight. We’ll be importing a Kindle Fire as soon as we can to test its overall performance and battery life, but the early signs are very promising.
Vitally, Amazon has pitched the Kindle Fire at people who like the idea of a tablet, but don’t want to pay Apple prices to get one. In a recent post on Which? Tech Daily we looked at the failings of cheap Android tablets and found they were numerous, and serious. The Kindle Fire seems to address all of these failings in a stroke, finally making tablets more than an expensive indulgence:
A clear reason to buy
The other thing Amazon has got right is giving people a reason to want one. Amazon’s Kindle has been the catalyst for a massive growth in ‘digital books’ and the Kindle Fire is looking to do the same for music, TV shows, films, magazines and newspapers.
All this content, all available to buy and enjoy within a few taps of the screen – it’s a far cry from the Blackberry Playbook’s opaque cries about the ‘flash loving web’. This promise of content, combined with the truly astounding price, is a powerful weapon; a weapon Amazon, with its huge marketing clout, has the power to sell to people.
But while Amazon has produced a compelling alternative to the iPad, it’s unlikely to reach beyond American shores for a while. So many of the services it relies upon aren’t available outside the US, leaving the gadget-loving masses outside waiting impatiently. I just hope Amazon won’t leave us hanging for too long.