Amazon’s Kindle Fire, one of three handheld devices announced by the online retailer today, is a handsome little tablet boasting a high-resolution color display, a speedy dual-core processor and the full array of Amazon’s robust cloud services. As an easy-to-use device with which to buy and consume media, it looks to be home-run. The price is right too: $199.
The early takeaways so far? The Kindle Fire is
- probably a stopgap device to fend off the Nook
- definitely not an iPad killer but a hot seller nevertheless
- and something that will force consumers to choose one cloud service — Amazon’s or Apple’s — over the other.
The Kindle Fire is also another validation of Amazon’s and Apple’s multimedia strategies, even as each strategy has a different aim. Apple curates a media library in order to sell devices. Amazon builds devices in order to sell media.
These are two very different goals, but smartly assembled multimedia ecosystems are key to each. Any tablet/handheld competitors missing such a component faces an uphill climb.
Another neat little thing: As noted, the Fire is pretty much the same build as RIM’s ill-fated BlackBerry PlayBook, except that it runs a forked version* of Google’s Android operating system, and obviously not BlackBerry’s QNX. Early impressions of the Fire’s OS indicate a speedy, intuitive operating system that appears to be simple and well-organized. The point is, software is important.
The e-ink Kindles are to the Kindle Fire what the music-playing iPods were to the iPhone, and what the iPhone was to the iPad — traction in the mass market based on trust and loyalty.
Solid assessment as always.
(* For the non-nerds, it basically means that developers started with Android code, and drastically re-wrote everything, making it unrecognizable from other Android devices today. It’s almost it’s own thing, but not quite.)