Amazon Kindle Fire
Today Amazon introduced the Kindle File, a seven inch tablet based on Android 2.1.
I think the tablet will be wildly successful. That is long before anyone actually has the opportunity to use the device and report on the actual functionality of the device. Additionally, although there are many Apps for Android, how many of them actually take advantage of the seven inch screen?
With a $200 price tag, schools will be tempted to purchase the Amazon Kindle Fire, as they can buy two for the price of one iPad (and still buy some accessories, such as a case). Maybe that will be a good thing, as the majority use of computers in school is for research and writing papers. This can be done on a seven inch tablet. At the same time, the Kindle Fire will lack Bluetooth and a camera. I don’t know if the Kindle Fire can use an external keyboard. If so, “typing purists” who hate typing on glass will be upset.
My main professional uses of the iPad lie with PDF music readers. A seven inch Amazon Kindle Fire won’t cut it. Amazon has threatened a larger device if the seven inch device sells well. If Amazon makes a ten inch version, it would need to be a 4:3, not a 16:10 widescreen device. If SmartMusic ever comes out for the iPad, that screen real estate will also be valuable.
I understand that some people just want a table to be able to read books, surf the web, and check e-mail. That’s fine, and the Amazon Kindle Fire will meet that need. You could also try to find a $99 TouchPad and save yourself $100. But the iOS experience, and the quality apps…many from Apple, make the iPad a more practical device for my life.
It will be interesting to see what the Amazon Kindle Fire does to Apple iPad sales. Ultimately, I think that many users will find the Fire to be a “crossover” device to the iPad, realizing that real estate is more important than cost (and since most of Amazon’s resources are DRM free and useable on an iOS device, there’s little need to “stay” with Amazon).
Still, I’d take an Amazon Kindle Fire, just so I could compare it and its available apps to the iPad. I’d also like an Android (Honeycomb or Ice Cream this fall) tablet for the same reason.