Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD: So what’s the point?

“This weekend, Amazon quickly responded to a huge customer protest about putting ads on the lock and home screens of the new Kindle Fires,” Gene Steinberg reports for TechNightOwl. “Even though the upgraded lineup comes across as a good value as far as price is concerned, it’s understandable buyers would chafe at having to confront ads on a device that’s already meant to serve as a front end to Amazon’s products and services.”

“Well, Amazon relented, with a $15 surcharge to ditch the ads,” Steinberg writes. “All right, I suppose they are to be commended for making a bad situation better.”

MacDailyNews Take: No commendation necessary or deserved. As we wrote yesterday:

here“As they planned to all along. An utterly contrived PR move.”

Steinberg writes, “But, other than price, what does a Kindle Fire offer that would make it a compelling alternative to an Apple iPad or Google Android tablet? That’s a question that’s really hard to answer, unless, of course, your primary need for a tablet is to acquire Amazon content… On the other hand, the new iPad, though heavier to lug around, offers a really good digital reading experience. More to the point, you aren’t tethered to Apple’s iBooks either. You can always install Amazon’s Kindle software, and embrace their eBook ecosystem.”

“What’s more, if your tablet needs extend beyond consuming multimedia content and digital books, you’ll want a rich selection of apps. Amazon doesn’t do very well in that regard, and the Android app repertoire is mostly smartphone-based. Those apps don’t look very well on tablets, which may be one key reason, among many, that Android tablets have not been very successful in the marketplace,” Steinberg writes. “If the existing iPad is a little too large for convenient reading, Apple may offer a solution soon, in the form of a smaller iPad. The rumored 7.85-inch model, allegedly sporting a 4:3 aspect ratio, will deliver far more screen real estate that a widescreen Kindle Fire or Android tablet.”

Read more in the full article here.

29 Comments

    1. To be an iPod competitor it has to be small & ultra mobile for those on the go (jogging, etc.).  Just having similar prices doesn’t turn products into competitors …  Similar prices don’t mean that whole milk competes with 40w light bulbs.

    1. @ radtech5000 … The video/music/books on Amazon’s online store can be used with pretty much any hardware.  So how could the introduction of a new device (Kindle) help Amazon compete with iTunes?

      1. The Kindle fire is going to be very tightly integrated with Amazon’s online store. Try to think of this device in the same perspective Amazon is doing. To Amazon this device is primarily a tool to allow consumers to purchase or sell stuff on the Amazon store. When you build or design a device around a primary goal such as this that’s usually what you end up with. Wait and see what the months ahead reveal it will all become too clear.

  1. Its all about tying and locking into Amazon’s ecosystem like iPad/iPod/iTunes has already done for Apple to an extent. But Apple is SO much better than Amazin since you can use ibooks OR Nook OR Kindle, etc. Apple is the best of both worlds. Anyone buying a Kindle color Instead of an iPad is getting the short end of the stick AKA volunteering to get shafted. Lol.

    1. No, it’s not “all about” the ecosystem. 

      One doesn’t require Amazon hardware to purchase electronic media (movies, music, books) from Amazon.  And Amazon’s hardware doesn’t induce consumption of content any more rapidly than if a person used hardware published by some other company.

  2. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G

    Too bad they didn’t stick an 8200 or a 5450 in there. That would have made it seem really professional.

    I give Amazon credit for admitting their mistakes. I don’t hate Amazon or have anything against the Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle FIre HD, Kindle FIre HD 8.9″, Kindle FIre HD 8.9″ 4G, or the Kindle FIre HD 9.3″ ED. I just don’t think they are as a good as an iPad for my purposes and have limitations that will keep them from hurting iPad sales very much.

    1. Is their mistake to which you refer the advertising that (on product launch) you couldn’t opt out of? MDN thinks it was preplanned all along. I’m not as certain, but I expect buzz marketing rules state “Rule #3: Keep the buzz alive — Do something that let’s you come back shortly with a ‘Due to overwhelming/huge/gigantic/unexpected customer demand…'”

  3. The Kindle Fire is all about Amazon trying to make sure it isn’t locked out of the online/downloadable/streaming media emerging market. Sure, it has its app on iOS, but that hasn’t brought near the PR that releasing its own tablets has.

    Plus, a Kindle Fire user is almost certainly going to use Amazon media. An iPad user will most likely use iTunes media.

    1. The electronic media Amazon sells is formatted for a wide range of hardware, so it isn’t clear how Amazon is getting locked out of the market for downloadable media.

      Let’s suppose that Amazon does get locked out of the content market, though.  Is it your theory that a Kindle selling in fairly small numbers is going to permit Amazon to mount a recovery in the market for media content?

  4. This trend that Sony started of paying more not to have crapware installed or in this case no ads is a hideous one. Just price this stuff the way it oughtta be, not with all this junky and unsightly subsidization bull puckey. NO customer wants this effrontery and companies do themselves damage by including it. Really dumb. Don’t these guys ever think about how THEY’D want to buy something?

    1. The model seems to work for free TV due to advertising. We grumble; a few tens of thousands cut the cord, but the masses go right on accepting in-your-face distractions in order to get something for free.

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