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Kindling the Fire

Obviously many people are going to use the same very obvious pun but hell, I’m not going to apologise. Amazon have finally launched their tablet and at first glance it does appear to be a bit of a rush job to be honest; no 3G, no GPS, no cameras and no microphone. This not an iPad 2 replacement; if you still want a iPad, you are probably going to buy an iPad and if you already have an iPad, you will probably wait another six months for the iPad 3.

And it’s not really a Kindle eReader replacement; yes, they’ve refreshed that range and they look nice but the Fire isn’t an eReader. Colour e-Ink is a year or two away for a consumer device and that’s probably the thing which will convince me to change away from my Kindle Keyboard 3G.

Amazon know people love their Apple stuff and to try to compete with this visceral and illogical love is madness; what Amazon know is that people want to consume content quickly and easily via many devices. They also know how to use the Amazon experience to encourage stickiness and further business; I don’t think that the ‘Amazon Recommends’ algorithms are that great but I do find myself adding things to my basket which it recommends on a disturbingly frequent basis.

This is going to give Apple a real headache over time; how many iPads are only used for content consumption? How many people really use video-chat?

Yes, a camera and a microphone would be nice but I suspect that’s not a show stopper for most people; if you are in the market for a tablet, you most likely already have a smart phone with a pretty decent camera.

If the Kindle Fire allows me to use my Audible library and my Kindle library in a seamless way, that’d be a big win. And as long as it runs Spotify, that’s my music sorted for the time being.

Still, that said; I’m probably not going to rush out and buy a Fire….well not for myself, there’s a ten year old who would love one. Of course there is a problem with this, when the inevitable Fire-2 comes out with the bells and whistles, she’s going to want one and I don’t want to be lumbered with a second rate bit of kit.

Now if Amazon were really clever; they should go and buy OnLive; a tablet which came with an OnLive subscription, that’d give everyone a headache.

Your media and your life is moving to the Cloud….its going to get harder and harder to resist.


  1. Ewan says:

    The Kindle Fire has all but convinced me to forget about android tablets for now – if Amazon can’t make a low cost tablet with decent specifications, I can’t see Samsung, Sony, or Google themselves doing it any time soon.

    The new £89 e-ink Kindle does look nice though, for when one day my 3G one fails.

    1. Martin Glassborow says:

      I think Bezos is right tho’; it’s a service and not a device. Amazon are sensible to focus on that as opposed to build really shiny devices of desire. Build a great service and the access device becomes almost secondary. Amazon need to build down to a cost but they know the profit is in the service and not the device.

      That said I think the next generation of Fire will hopefully be something special but it will still be an access device.

      1. Ewan says:

        The service looks great yeah, but the rather outdated (and locked down) version of Android means that there’s surely going to be a loss in application compatibility over time between the Kindle Fire and Android 4.

        If the Fire sells 10s of millions, it’s not going to be a problem – developers will maintain 2 code streams, one for “vanilla” Android and one for Amazon Android, but for plenty of devs, it’s going to be too much hard work, and one or the other will suffer.

        Given the number of Android phones being sold, I don’t think it’s going to be vanilla Android that loses out..

  2. Martin Glassborow says:

    I don’t think Amazon especially care; they’ll work with developers to ensure that the must have apps end-up on Kindle Fire and the rest can go hang. Eventually, I would expect Amazon to go down the HTML5 route for apps anyway.

    As long as it has Angry Birds and a few other apps like that; they’ll be fine. The Fire and its successors will sell millions. But you might not be the target audience.

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