Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kindle Fire: The Gateway Tablet

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of my Apple products.  This holiday season I cheated on my iPad with my husband's new Kindle Fire.  To my surprise, I liked it.

There are several observations I made while using it.  First I'll start with opening the box:

1. The packaging - modeled after Apple's product packaging, there was very little else besides the tablet, a power cord, and a very small card with basic information.

2. It just worked - As soon as I took it out of the box I was able to power it on and immediately be productive. 

3. The user interface was intuitive - While not quite as slick as what I am used to on my iPad, the UI was surprisingly easy to navigate and it was easy to find what I was looking for.

4. Integration with my Amazon account - Being and Amazon product, the Fire makes it easy to make purchases via my existing Amazon account. Which had been dormant for a while but now that it's so easy to make purchases it's become my family's go to online retailer again.

This brings me to my point - the Kindle Fire isn't trying to be the next revelation in tablet technology.  It's a gateway to what Amazon does best - sells products.  Amazon isn't looking to make it's money on sales of the Fire, it's banking on the revenue it will rake in by making it even easier an more enjoyable to make purchases via the Amazon stores now accessible through the Fire. It's no surprise with it's sub $200 price tag that the Fire was the hottest selling item this holiday season.  It was the perfect gift - all the technical advancement of a tablet without the early adopter price tag.

In terms of market share, the Fire may have eaten into some of the iPad sales this season so much that speculation is that there is a $299 iPad on the horizon to help boost the dormancy in iPad sales.

So here are my predictions on what's next for the Kindle Fire:
1. The Fire will continue to dominate as a prime competitor to Apple's iPad in 2012.  Becoming the tablet of choice for those not willing to pay the Apple premium.
2. With it's size somewhere between that of a smartphone - not quite small enough to fit in your pocket -  and a tablet - not quite big enough for superior web browsing - Amazon will look to create a newer version that is larger and caters less to the Kindle loving reading crowd more to the tech savvy web browsing crowd.

You heard it here first folks - my predictions and analysis of the Kindle Fire tablet and how it's giving Apple a run for it's money.  What do you think?