Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon Announces Kindle Fire - Where There Is Smoke...

Kindle Fire.jpg
In the little over 18 months since its first announcement, the iPad has reigned supreme in the portable computing market.  Oh sure, there have been competitors, but most haven't been able to go but a few rounds with the heavy weight champion iPad.  HP fell away, Motorola released the  Xoom and had lackluster sales, and Samsung has struggled as well.
The reason for these struggles?  In my opinion it is because these other devices have been "me too" kinds of products.  They are tablets trying to "be" the iPad and so try and do all the things that the iPad does.  Because of this and their very similar price points, I think many consumers have said, "If it does the same stuff as the iPad and costs the same as the iPad, why not just by an iPad?"  That's logic I can't argue with.
However, today Amazon entered the tablet market with the Kindle Fire.  A competitor to the iPad with an interesting slant.  The Kindle Fire is sort of iPad lite.  And by that, I don't mean to speak badly about it.  No, instead I think this may just be a piece of genius.  Rather than compete directly with the iPad, the Kindle Fire is a scaled back tablet that will do the things that a lot of non-power users need.
The Fire has a touch screen that is 7 inches compared to the 9.7 inch iPad.  A small screen means the device is smaller... but it also keeps the costs down.  For some people the smaller, easier to carry footprint will be welcome.  For others it will be a deal breaker.
There is no camera in the Fire, but for most folks who have taken a photo with a tablet they will tell you it's cumbersome and easier to take pictures with a small digital camera.
The Fire is WiFi only which may be a big deal for some folks, but I own a portable WiFi hotspot and have never owned a device with its own connection.  I don't think it's that big of a deal with WiFi readily available almost everywhere.
The number one thing the  Fire has going for it?  Price!  At $199 the device is much less than even the low end iPads.  Add to that the fact that the device has only 8GB of storage but also has access to the unlimited storage of Amazon Cloud and you have a device that may have found a nice niche market and give the iPad a run for its money.

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