Tech companies who want to break into the tablet game have had a tough time, especially since Apple’s iPad currently dominates the market. Many companies have attempted to match the speed, look and feel of the iPad, but their products have been slow to sell. And while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab offer users a comprehensive alternative, the company has run into patent trouble with Apple over its touch interfaces. Finding a way to unseat the iPad from the top of the tablet heap is becoming increasingly difficult.
But Amazon is betting that consumers are ready for a new kind of tablet experience. Along with his announcement of a new generation of Kindle e-readers, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the Kindle Fire, an e-reader tablet hybrid that makes watching movies, buying and reading books, and communicating with friends simple. And at a cost of just $199, the Kindle Fire is aimed squarely at consumers who might want an iPad but are put off by the price.
So, why should anyone consider buying a Kindle Fire? With no cameras or SD slot and a relatively small 8GB of storage, it doesn’t seem like a smart buy—especially for power users. And with rumors of a second, larger Kindle Fire in the works for release next year, buying a Kindle Fire might seem like a gamble. But the Kindle Fire has the potential to change what people think a tablet should do.
A Personal Media Device
Unlike the iPad, which is designed to be a fully mobile computer alternative, the Kindle Fire’s focus is on media: books, movies, music and apps. By concentrating on media, Amazon has an opportunity to make inroads into markets like entertainment and education—two areas where quality products with affordable prices do well. Instead of paying upwards of $600 for an iPad, school districts and parents of school-aged children could purchase a Kindle Fire for just a third of the iPad’s price. For reading books, watching videos and participating in online education lessons, the Kindle Fire could provide students with an inexpensive device they can use for both school and leisure time.
A Tablet For The Rest Of Us
The specs for the Kindle Fire are impressive—that is, until you put them up against the iPad or other Android tablets. But the Kindle Fire is designed to deliver media and other content, not to be a mobile computer. And for users who are happy with their laptops and smartphones, the Kindle Fire could bridge the gap in their electronic device collection. Even devoted Kindle owners can see the value in a device that allows them to read books in color, watch movies and TV shows, easily browse the Internet. The Kindle Fire is designed to give users an enhanced reading experience, along with some bonuses, for a low price. For the average user, that’s more than enough.
Amazon’s stock has taken a tumble, most notably because of its investment in the new technology of the Kindle Fire. But sales of the device have been brisk, and if Kindle Fire users buy more media—which, of course, they will—the Kindle Fire could become one of the most popular devices Amazon has ever sold. It’s an investment that will almost certainly pay off in the long run.
Lindsey Harper Mac writes on behalf of online education degrees. She enjoys writing about technology and education and considers herself a lifetime learner.