Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon On Fire (Short Take)

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Amazon founder J...
This will be another quick and short post. I had the choice of getting close to enough sleep for the first time in three days or spending an hour on the BLOG. Sleep won out. It's been even busier than normal around here but things should be settling down a tiny bit over the next few days.

Amazon is a really smart company. How do I know? The proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes. Look at their bottom line, look at what they are doing to their competition and look what they announced today. I'm going to talk about the Tablet and hopefully cover the other parts of the announcement in the next few days.

Seven inch tablet, $199. Wireless only, and not that impressive hardware wise but a good device to test the waters. Will feature the Amazon store which is substantial and a select number of other Apps. Android underneath the covers but that doesn't really matter anymore than the fact that the E-Ink Kindles run Linux

I think Amazon is testing the waters here. The new Fire compares well to Barnes & Nobles $250 Nook. B&N are rumored to be bringing out a new tablet soon, and will now have to think very seriously about how they price it. Think of the first Fire as a test shot across Apples bow. It's not going to compete directly with the iPad as it lacks the apps and the form factor. If things go well for Amazon though it would be very feasible for them to introduce a ten inch version in the spring of 2012. They would be very competitive on the content front and would have a decent selection of Android Apps, particularly if they upgrade the underlying version to something more up to date. They won't be able to compete head to head on the apps, but they don't need to. If they could sell such a device for say $300 wireless and $375 with 3G they would likely be in good shape.

Apples success to date with the iPad has been primarily due to two factors. One, the rich content experience they can provide and two, the Apple name. This lead to a third advantage when developers flocked to the platform (following the money and the cool factor) and built apps.

Amazon isn't as cool as Apple but they arguably have a more diverse pool of content and have the potential if they manage their app store well and entice developers to create a platform that will have a substantial enough pool of applications to please the majority of people who might otherwise buy an iPad.

As with all things technology related we'll have to wait and see but this race is likely to be interesting over the next year.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife
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