The Amazon Kindle Fire: is it revolutionary or just another gadget?
Today Amazon launched the Kindle Fire, touted as the first post web device. The iPad is certainly the post-PC device Steve Jobs talked about during the All Things D conference on stage with Bill Gates. Amazon is hoping the Kindle Fire becomes the iPad for the cloud.
I’m not sure, we are ready for the cloud in totality yet. I’m not sure, users are willing to fully place and seed physical ownership of music to a cloud in its entirety. Let’s make no bones about it, not physically owning music on your device is exactly what the Kindle Fire demands. With only 8 GB of on board storage, the user must use Amazon’s cloud service or leave the device lightly populated. 8 GB is a lot of memory for things like apps, documents, even images, but music is the driving force behind Apple, and will likely be the driving force behind the Kindle Fire. For music 8 GB is a drop in the bucket. Since there’s nothing new under the sun, it should be no surprise that another company has tried to beat Apple with a similar strategy and failed.
Microsoft, tried to compete with iTunes using a similar cloud no ownership strategy. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person that remembers the Zune. The market may have changed in the last five years, and Amazon certainly has more respect than Microsoft, but I’m not sure they are completely ready to compete on this level. Amazon has done a few clever things to change the game Microsoft was playing. Simple things like not having a monthly subscription service, allowing users to import old music to the cloud, adding extra value to the Amazon prime product (which is already an insane value), allowing ownership in the cloud, and most importantly not being Microsoft itself.
This may be only the second time a true competitor has ever entered the market against an Apple innovation. Android competes against IOS, now the Kindle Fire has a chance to compete against the iPad. Time will tell if the kindle fire is the Microsoft Zune, the Motorola xoom, or the next android. The fire certainly has already forced the hand of players like Vizio, they recently dropped the price of their tablet from $250-$189 at Costco. It will likely in some ways force the hand of apple to at least produce the mythic ipad mini.
The big question that must be answered: Can a brand beat Apple within adequate product, that is priced drastically better?