back to article Amazon's Kindle Fire is sold at a loss

At $199, Amazon may be selling its new Kindle Fire at a loss, emulating King Gillette's marketing brainstorm: sell razors dirt cheap and make money on the blades. According to a "preliminary virtual estimate" by the research group IHS, the Fire's bill of materials cost is $191.65, barely squeaking in below the $199 list price …

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  1. Rob Dobs
    Happy

    At cost not same as at loss

    I'm betting they pay less than $8 for some Chinese work slave (or malaysian etc) to slap one of these things together in country with scant labor laws and few to no environmental restrictions.

    Further I bet knowing how many millions they would sell, I am sure they can get better bulk rates than expected by these speculators. I would bet they have priced it so that Amazon can at least squeak a tiny bit of profit out on the front end, and still as article states, they only need to have each owner buy a few books or items on Amazon and the device starts to show an overall really healthy profit margin.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      Thumb Up

      RE: At cost not same as at loss

      Yeah, I'm pretty sure AMZN has a lot better relationship with these OEM/ODMs than iSuppli.com - it's probably sold at cost, with no loss at all.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Pretty much what I figured.

      This analysis pretty much reinforces my hypothesis and also explains why Amazon can be cavalier about not locking down the Firmware on its Fire. Selling at a small loss can be seen as an investment into getting more customers. Furthermore, rooted Fires can still visit Amazon's store, since Amazon has an Android App already: both for its store and for the Kindle books.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What world do you people live in, is this really an IT website?

      The iSuppli estimate - which is always low since they use it for marketing their supply services - is materials only, there's going to be many more added costs - not only shipping but development (it may be Android but it's a whole new thingup on top), support and licensing.

      Even if they had slaves making it at no cost you can bet they will still be losing money on them.

      I'm very curious to see what steps Amazon will take to protect this loss leader.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ Metavisor

        Amazon won't need to protect much. At a cost few could match, and making clear it'll be root friendly (thus welcoming hackers and developers of other systems looking to port), they can sit back with a smile on their face as punters roll in through the door. A fair few may look around too (and with free postage, Amazon is consistently a better price than my supermarket with like-for-like comparisons (barcode scans)), so...

        ...oh, and they can smile smugly at giving iWhatever a kick in the ass.

        1. StooMonster

          Pulling out the Roots

          I must've missed the part of the press release or announcement of Kindle being "root friendly".

          I am skeptical this is the case though, as Amazon are a content supply business and (apparently) selling this device at as a loss-leader for their content, why would they allow Rooting? Especially when the most common use of rooting is to pirate software and bypass DRM restrictions on content, yes I know us techie sorts want to fiddle and install stuff and run emulators etc and have more noble ambitions than the freetards, but mainstream rooting is primarily for getting around the kind of restrictions Amaon will have in place to protect their investment.

          1. jai

            @StooMonster

            you missed this El Reg article then:

            http://www.reghardware.com/2011/09/29/amazon_accepts_kindle_fire_android_tablet_will_be_rooted/

            [quote]The retailer will apparently do nothing to prevent hardware hackers getting into the gadget's software innards, Jon Jenkins, director of Amazon's Silk browser project, suggested to PC Mag.

            "It's going to get rooted, and what you do after you root it is up to you," he said.[/quote]

          2. Adrian Jones

            @StooMonster

            http://www.reghardware.com/2011/09/29/amazon_accepts_kindle_fire_android_tablet_will_be_rooted/

            Clear now?

            1. StooMonster

              I did miss that, thanks for the link chaps, but I have to say there's a difference between accepting that it will be rooted and encouraging it. ;)

          3. TeeCee Gold badge

            "....why would they allow Rooting?"

            One word, confidence.

            Which supplier has more confidence in the superiority of their product?

            The one who lets those who wish to do what they like, expecting the vast majority of purchasers to prefer the ease of use of the vanilla product and even some of those who Root to come back, or the one who feels the need to play whack-a-mole with the hobbyists?

        2. Herbert Meyer
          Pirate

          If you don't know

          And if you don't know how to root it, they will sell you a howto book, published by O'Reilly. And a couple of books on Android development, a book on java programming, one on python, maybe a tune or two to listen to while you read....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Pirate

            I'm confused Herbert, you use the pirate sign but then say they will "sell" all that?

            Many (most) who root it will not be buying much more than the tablet.

      2. BobM54
        Trollface

        Apple Fanboy just can't get over the news!

        Most who live in the the "real world" and not Apple is God fantasy camp, look at these numbers and see them as higher then they probably need to be. All Amazons suppliers are also investing upfront with Amazon by lowering their costs. I don't think amazon needs to make a profit on these since their Prime Accounts cost $79 US a year... a pretty good annual residual if you ask me.

        This certainly will put a dent into Apples iPad sales. Amazon is respected because it gives their customers great prices and value, whereas Apple is only known for just making huge profits off their fan boys moonbats by convincing them it's better.

        Oh and I'm a iPhone and iPad owner.... I like them but they certainly aren't perfect. So why do i own them, well I can't control Apple's competition from making less then compelling products, but now Amazon has. I order my Fire with in minutes of the announcement, since it does everything my overprice iPad does that's important.

  2. chadp

    Amazon can survive on lower margins

    Look at the latest quarterly reports from Amazon and Apple. Amazon had gross margins of around 14%, Apple 41%. Amazon is built to run on low margins because it competes in retail. Amazon is going to try to change the prevailing model because it knows that Apple can't compete there.

  3. Thomas 4

    As I said in another thread

    At these prices, it will screw over quite a lot of the competition so although in the short term they may make a small loss, they'll claim a large section of the tablet market from their rivals. After all, the savings they make can be used to buy ebooks and programs from Amazons TotallyNotAnAppStore.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      I forget what I was going to say... Oh yes; memory...

      Add aps, ebooks and a device with "only" 8GB of memory in a device that plays movies I can't help but think that the market that amazon is aiming for is is streaming, why ask peeps to buy something, and nearly own it, when you can get them to pay for it again and again and again and again and again.............

  4. Scarborough Dave

    I think the Kindle release is a brave move considering the recent HP fondle slab experience.

    I have tinkered with moving to Andriod myself, but the Apple phone and fondle slab being from the same stable just makes life easier.

    My problem is I don't know enough about cross hardware integration with the various Andriod device manufactures and app stores?

    Will I be able to have unto 5 devices use the same game license (per apple) or will each hardware device have to buy a fresh game license?

    I don't think I am alone.

    Though the price is unbelievable, I think this device will be the one device to entice me over to try Andriod, with Amazon's cloud I expect good content and reliability. If Amazon ever brought a decent phone out too, then Apple has a competitor.

    1. Jedit
      Headmaster

      Device licenses

      As memory serves, your Android apps are purchased by an account and may be installed and run on any device linked to that account. There may be a limit on the number of concurrent devices that can be linked to an account, but I don't know what it is without looking as it exceeds the number of devices I would ever own.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will sell

    Kindle sold well; so an Android tablet disguised as Kindle will sell. Do Apple have anything to fear? I think not. I'm planning on buying an iPad for the house (for everyone in the house, and the fire looks like a good option for travel (I already use Kindle extensively on my iPhone and appreciate something a bit bigger).

  6. fishman

    More like $160?

    Over at eetimes, they estimated the BoM to be around $150.

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4228505/Kindle-Fire-profitable-at-estimated--150-BoM

    1. gafisher

      EE Times' estimate is probably more accurate than the one used for this article.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Still not a direct competitor to iPad

    But it is an android killer in terms of price.

    I didn't see the tribute being paid to Microsoft in that breakdown though?

    If Samsung et al are paying it then why aren't amazon?

    1. Steve Knox
      WTF?

      Android killer?

      You can't kill what's deep inside you.

      1. StooMonster

        Android competitor killer is how I read his post, considering the context of the article. Who would be able to match Amazon's price when they don't have the sales from content Eco-system to offset the low price (loss-leader) hardware sales.

        Alternatively, one of the tech rumours yesterday was that Amazon are considering buying webOS from HP to power the next generation of Kindle -- one would assume to avoid issues such as the Microsoft tax on Android devices.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          HP / WebOS

          Hmmm, interesting, but would be more interesting if they are talking to them about combining their skills on the next version of the Kindle fire, with 10 inch screen to compete directly with iPad, i.e. the HP pad that was so successful at the very low price in the firesale. This owuld be a great and winning comob in my view.

    2. Wang N Staines

      @Still not a direct competitor to iPad

      The Fire doesn't SD cards etc..., so MS can't extort!

  8. Anonymous John
    Unhappy

    At £199, the ones sold on this side of the pond will be profitable.

    1. StooMonster

      Tax is taxing

      US prices don't include sales tax whereas out include 20% VAT, which is a large chunk. Amazon will also have to pay import duty (more tax) before they even add cost of exchange (and hedging it) and then simple extras like cost of support in EU (multiple language instructions etc) and shipping.

      Considering all of that, I doubt they would make much extra money from that UK price but they might well come in lower than £199.

      Oh also, the cheapest US models also include advertising, you have to pay an extra £50 to get an advert free model. I wonder if these advertised-sponsor models will be available outside USA.

      1. Anonymous John

        Amazon UK wouldn't be importing then from the US, would they? Is there much difference between the import duties charged by both countries?

        And I haven't read anywhere that the US Fires would be ad supported, just the ereaders.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chippery costs always follow a downward trend, so just as most game consoles are launched for less than their BOM costs, probably within 6 months the Fire will be at break-even.

    1. StooMonster
      Headmaster

      Depends what you mean by "most"

      Sony and Microsoft do indeed sell their console hardware at a loss for six months (or a year) or more.

      Nintendo do not, they make margin on their hardware from day one.

      Nintendo have sold "most" games console hardware (if you include handhelds), so most consoles are sold making profits on the hardware.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really

    There's no way Amazon is paying these prices for their components. As someone that builds electronics, I always laugh at these "estimates" of what XYZ corporation is spending to build something.

    Maybe if Amazon is building the Fire in ten piece production runs, they pay these prices. But if they are building them in the million piece per run range, they aren't paying even half of what is shown in this article.

    It's amazing how low the cost of components can be in large quantities. A processor chip I use is $7.60 at quantity 10, but is under $1 in 100,000 quantity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So you're saying that if I buy 10.000.000 of those CPUs the price becomes almost free? I'm sorry to tell you but that's not how it works, your small scale preconceptions don't apply.

      iSuppli is in the business of telling their large customers where to get the best prices, these free bill of materials reports are just marketing for those services. If anything their estimates are lower than what's really out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Having worked for an actual supplier, I can say that the true price for big buyers is usually a) secret, and b) much lower than any advertised price.

        iSuppli isn't going to get the true price given to manufacturers because they would end up giving out stuff for even less! The jacking up prices bait-and-switch game is mostly a consumer market thing; the supply chain has many sellers and few buyers. Piss off a buyer, you'll probably get shitlisted from all of them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh please, iSuppli does NOT use advertised prices. Their job is to KNOW (through supply chain detective work) how much those big costumers are actually paying.

          We're not talking intermediate suppliers here, these are direct sales from manufacturers! Yes I've worked in one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've heard making it up in volume not as a joke

    As the old joke goes, "Yeah, we may be losing money on each sale, but we'll make it up in volume."

    I've heard this proposed in seriousness by the CIS sales and marketing team at the Japanese electronics company that I used to work at. The kind proposal was declined you would be glad to know.

    There might have been something misunderstood in the description of the negative margin but they did persist for a while.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At a loss...

    So let's see what happens when the other retailers try to slip in their own apps into Amazon's ecosystem. Can Amazon even afford to let them do that?

    Zinio, Netflix, Spotify, news media and the myriad of other apps that involve payments. Apple's subscription policies might actually look very friendly to them after this.

    1. jai

      this is going to be the crucial matter. Amazon surely can't let anyone buy their content from anywhere else, otherwise there's no high-margin sales to offset the loss (or zero-margin) sale of the fire.

      then again, i know such a concept seems blasphemy to most El Reg readers, but a closed eco-system seems to have worked, and continues working, for Apple. So why not Amazon?

      it's the other tablet manufacturers that are going to get screwed. They blatantly can't produce a decent tablet for retail $200, otherwise they would have done so by now. And they can't make one and sell it at a loss either, because they don't have the means to provide the content that users will purchase, so won't get any profit there either.

  13. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Devil

    @Rob re cost vs loss

    Please understand that the numbers are estimates as to what the hardware costs are.

    You have to add in shipping, marketing, etc... which means that if you sell the device at what it costs to manufacture, you'll end up selling it for a loss.

    To the author's point, Amazon can sell the devices for a small loss because of their margins on the content which they sell and they are the only source for the content. In addition, El Reg pointed out an argument that Amazon also ,ntends to use this device to also get an additional revenue stream by spying on their users and their reading/viewing habits. ala Phorm.

    Unlike Phorm, this system is a closed system where purchasing a device would constitute as an opt-in. You don't like, don't buy.

    This is why I like my iPad since I can put any docs I want on it for later reading.... And no, I'm not a fanboi...

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    Wait for it to be rooted

    Then you can have a nice vanilla android tablet without Amazon data mining every damned thing you do with it.

  15. James Pickett (Jp)

    They're just following the model that games console manufacturers have been using for years. Get the hardware into people's homes, even if it means an initial loss, but make the money back on software and content. Apple have managed to do it the other way round!

    1. jubtastic1
      Facepalm

      Poor analogy

      A single game sale will push a PS3 into profit, and subsequent sales will generate lively income, whereas the stuff Amazon is shifting carries razor thin margins, App Store revenue is a rounding error for Apple, and as far as tablet content sales goes (books, films, music & apps), Amazon will be hard pushed to match that.

      Now Amazon may well be happy with those slim profits from content as a long term income stream but Samsung, Motorola and the rest of the Android tablet Manufacturers can't replicate the strategy with no content and are likely to be squeezed out between Apple and Amazon, Google can't be best pleased about degoogled Amazon Tablets derailing their tablet efforts either.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Razor thin margins?

        Amazon takes a whopping 30% of the price of books & apps, and likely a large chunk of movie sales too. If the device is sold $10 below cost then they'd make it back with a few purchases.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's right and have you noticed the price of games for those consoles? Will the 30% "standard" commission (which was pioneered by Apple) on media sales be enough to cover it?

      1. StooMonster
        Thumb Up

        70% of retail price is a lot more money than selling via "standard" retail, if you're a games company that's pretty attractive.

        30% is certainly the new digital standard used by Apple, Microsoft, Steam, Sony, Amazon, et al.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The 30% may be the commission in some, but it certainly doesn't apply to everything.

          Outside of sales to 8 select countries Amazon will still take a 65% commission (yes, you only get 35%) on books you publish through their kindle store. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A29FL26OKE7R7B

          Also licensing fees to sell eg games on the PS3 are much more than simply 30%.

  16. tardigrade

    "Cupertino may continue to charge a premium for its iPad hardware – ever hear that said of Apple before? – but other fondleslab punters are now in a whole new world: one that starts at $199."

    It's not like for like though is it. You need to add 3" to the screen, a front and rear camera, another 8GB of storage, Bluetooth, Gyroscope, microphone? etc. If you look at it like that, these are very different products.

    I think Amazon will sell millions of these, but not at the expense of millions of iPad sales. There will be some crossover sure, but it will appeal to a lot of people who have no intention of buying an iPad anyway.

    I read another article that highlighted the differences perfectly. Look at the software Amazon are providing on the Kindle and what you can do with it. The Kindle Fire is for consuming, on the iPad you can create. Big difference in usage and market. I think Amazon know exactly what they are after and will do brilliantly without ever having to go completely head to head with Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sure you can create on the ipad

      but most people I have noticed use it to consume.

      The only creating, is small note taking in meetings and thats about it, emails aside.

      As this tablet will have quite a wide selection of apps available, you will be able to do the same sort of creation.

      Maybe not creating new albums, like The Gorillaz, but hey its cheap!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Fail there. All tablets are for consumption.

      No tablet can ever be for real creation, because it lacks a UI suited to use for long periods.

      Many people can use a keyboard and mouse for a full working day, only requiring occasional teabreaks.

      You can't do that on a touchscreen interface because touchtyping is impossible - you can't rest your hand, and tablet computer form factors are even worse because you have to hold the tablet.

      Anyone thinking they can create with a tablet is deluding themselves, because you simply can't use the device for long enough periods.

      1. tardigrade
        Facepalm

        Way to miss the point entirely.

        Apart from that, funny how I wrote my last presentation on my iPod touch sat on the fscking beach, and it got me the contract.

        Just because you are incapable of achieving something don't automatically assume that everyone else is as well.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Actually, you've missed the point quite spectacularly.

          Sure, you can write a trivial* document like a PowerPoint-style presentation on a tablet.

          However, I'd be pretty confident in saying that the main thing you did was select slides from various other presentations you and your colleagues have made and maybe adjust a couple of words on some of them.

          That's not creation, that's roughly equivalent to editing a playlist. Certainly very useful and doubt skilled - it got you the contract after all - but not creation.

          Even if you did write the slides from scratch, that's probably 200 words tops. Nothing.

          You are not going to write a significant text document on something with no physical keyboard. An email? Sure. Hamlet? No way!

          You are not going to draw or edit a significant image without a mouse or (better) brush/pen interface. Try drawing the Mona Lisa on your iPod Touch.

          Yes, given enough time you probably could write out the likes of Hamlet on your iPod Touch. However, you're not going to try, are you?

          Equally, would you be happy if you had to do your entire job on a iPod Touch? I mean all of it - no physical access to a PC/Mac at all, only WiFi? Do you think you could follow through on the contract using nothing but the iPod Touch?

          I doubt it, you'll use something else that is more suited to creating the widget that you just sold.

          That is what I mean by "It's for consumption, not creation".

          Oh, and incidentally the Kindle Fire is an Android tablet and will almost certainly support the Android equivalent of whatever it was you were using to edit that presentation of yours, so your concept that "it's only iOS that are useful" is foolishness. Maybe when you bought your iOS device it was true, but it's not now.

          *A good presentations is always trivial in terms of the actual quantity of written and drawn content. Put too much on a slide and nobody can read it, put in too many slides and everyone gets bored.

          1. tardigrade
            Coffee/keyboard

            Just stand back and look at what you've written.

            Then phone Apple and tell them to get rid of the button that says "Create Document" in pages, because according to you it's not creating anything. Then I guess I'd better take down the two client websites whose backgrounds I "created" in Artpad (because it was the best tool to use for what I wanted), as obviously you can't create anything on a tablet. [Face Palm].

            Oh you had better tell Apple to get rid of Garage band as well, clearly it's good for nothing.

            What's your point?

            No you are not going to write Hamlet on an iPad. I did not say anything like that.

            "...so your concept that "it's only iOS that are useful"..."

            I did not say that at all.

            "Do you think you could follow through on the contract using nothing but the iPod Touch?"

            Did I say that? No. What is your point? Anyone?

            All I said is that the Kindle Fire is all about consumption. On an iPad a large part of the focus is on content creation as well as consumption. Apple have pushed the productivity aspect of this a lot.

            Now look at the Kindle Fire. Smaller format, focus on consuming from the Amazon ecosystem. Jeff Bezos' introduction didn't even demo the Gmail app! but did demo games. That tells you everything about where they are going with it and what it's designed for. Several popular news sites have jumped on this aspect as well, not just me. Amazon has a different focus.

            You aren't even talking about the subject of the article. You've just got a bee in your bonnet for some bizarre reason, about anyone who dares to use a mobile device for anything productive.

            Pfft.

      2. Iain 4

        So you've got the One, True definition of creation?

        You're correct that the lack of keyboard makes tablets a bit rubbish for extended coding or writing sessions. Lots of 'creation' is possible of a tablet, however. Whether that's music creation, sketching, and so on.

  17. Ralthor

    No loss.

    Any loss they may or may not make will be offset by the $1=£1 conversion rate they will probably employ.

  18. Chris 171
    Go

    Disruptive

    Yup, nailed this one.

    Amazon has a good chance here to really do well here against apple if they continue making shiny things that people want. OEM's are probably a bit pissed mind.

    I see a very well specified tablet on the horizon, price dependent on your annual spend. Amazon also have the advantage of letting their kit be user definable & provided they can avoid the desire to play god in the future, there are very few hurdles in their way.

    Thinking back, how many people trusted their first web purchase to Amazon? sticks in the mind that.

    1. jai

      "I see a very well specified tablet on the horizon, price dependent on your annual spend"

      "provided they can avoid the desire to play god in the future"

      The only way they will be able to afford to produce that future tablet is if they do play god and ensure that your annual spend is all from amazon's own stores. If the majority of fire owners are the type to root their device and source their content from alternative, torrent-supplied locations, then amazon's strategy will fail

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thing is, Kindle Fire's not a direct iPad competitor

    more a web-enabled PMP tied into the Amazon ecosystem. Sure, it'll shift a lot of media within that ecosystem, but it's playing a different game to Apple: Apple want to sell hardware, Amazon want to sell books and movies

    1. StooMonster
      Angel

      Summary of key tablet players and their strategies

      Apple want to sell hardware, using content as loss leader.

      Amazon want to sell content, using hardware as loss leader.

      Google want to sell advertising, using Android as loss leader.

      Microsoft want to sell Windows.

      1. Ralph B
        FAIL

        Yes but no but

        > Apple want to sell hardware, using content as loss leader.

        > Amazon want to sell content, using hardware as loss leader.

        Then why is the price of content higher in iTunes than at Amazon?

  20. BozNZ

    Long term profit

    I'm sure my kindle was sold for under cost too, however the $100+ I have subsequently spent on Amazon for books helps to heal their profit margin, and I don't mind one bit as I'm still several hundred dollars better off than buying the books locally.

    Funny I never really rated Amazon until I started using a kindle, if anyone can get the balance right, I think they can.

    1. Pete B
      Thumb Up

      +1

      Can't beat the "buy one minute, it's there the next"; especially when you're on the road and want something new to read. This is wat digital media should be all about.

      OK - I know that I'm effectively paying a rental on the 'book' rather than actually owning it in the way I would a hard copy, but that's a risk I'm prepared to take when balanced against the convenience. (And removing the DRM isn't exactly difficult anyway!)

  21. Nospam
    Unhappy

    Will be £225 in UK...lots of profit here

    The new basic model is $79 in US and £89 in UK, so at those FX rates, the colour model will be £225.... plenty of profit here

    1. Absent

      re: Will be £225 in UK...lots of profit here

      The $79 US version is advert supported. That model won't be available in the UK, the £89 UK Kindle is equivalent to the $109 version = £69.76 + 20% VAT = £83.71

    2. iDragon

      $79 to £89 isn't the right comparison, $109 to £89 is, the $79 one is ad supported, the UK one isn't, like the $109 model.

  22. Absent

    Customer aquisition

    There's always a financial cost associated with acquiring new customers factored into every business plan. The Kindle also locks new customers into the Amazon content eco-system so such a customer would be of high value. Factor that in with Amazon's cost of acquiring standard website customers and the value is probably pretty high, possibly higher than the loss on the device. Basically the loss making Kindle can be seen as a cheap customer acquisition tool.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a competitor to i-whatever

    "add 2 camera's >>>>" the fondleslab 1 had no camera's and was still £600 and still sold, so that argument doesnt work.

    I have most tablets to play with at work, and each has uses. My kids prefer the kindle for books as it's much easie to read in dim light than the ipad.

    Rooting...some people (me for one) still buy i-apps for my jailbroke phone, only jailbroke so I can do what i want with it, not have to bow to the i-god's given boundaries.

    Amazon will sell them, plenty of UK families dont have £600 floating about, even less of working ones have that spare income for a toy/work item.

    I'd rather my daughter lost her kindle on the bus than an i-pad, just for the lower amount of information needed to activate it

    1. Steve Todd
      Stop

      It may not have had a camera

      But nor did it cost £600, a least not in any version that was comparable to the Fire. The base model was £429, and that included an extra 8GB of memory, a screen twice the size and a microphone. Where the Fire is lacking is in 3G (limiting it to WiFi limits it's usefulness as a mobile device as far as I'm concerned, especially with only 8GB of memory - I use more than that just for the cut-down mobile part of my audio library).

      As for the Kindle being easier to read in poor light, you must be joking. I've used both eInk and LCD screens and low light reading is not eInk's forte. You can turn LCD's brightness down, but not eInk's brightness up. I always found myself looking for a reading light. In bright light you may have a point, but that's not where most people, myself included, read most of the time.

  24. Peter 48
    Thumb Up

    Who is the target audience for the fire?

    Honestly, I see the biggest purchasers of the fire being people who only want to consume media and surf the net, which I would estimate to be about 40% of potential ipad purchasers and about 20% of brand name android tablets and about 70% of low cost android tablets. Is this an ipad or similar android killer? no, not in its current form, it is simply too limited for tech savy folk like us, but it will certainly vacuum up a substantial portion of the casual purchasers out there, which currently are a major chunk of the ipad audience and the budget tablet market. Once they release a 3G version of it they will have the Telcos on their side too, as they will be able to bundle it at a lower cost and thanks to silk the impact on their data network will be reduced compared to other tablets. e.

  25. D/C

    Accessories

    The cases/covers will be very profitable as many people buy them from Amazon... they sell at anywhere between £25 to £50!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Kindle cases

      A padded envelope works just as well and can be had for about a pound from the local post office.

    2. Martin
      WTF?

      estimate based on what, exactly?

      Why on earth do you think 60% of iPad purchasers are doing anything more than surfing the net and consuming media?

      The target audience for the iPad is people who consume, not create - and I reckon that 90% of iPad purchasers (in fact, ALL tablet purchaser) are just consuming media and surfing the net.

      BTW - I'm including "playing games" under "consuming media". I'm NOT including "posting to Facebook" or "sending the odd email" as creating. I'm assuming you are too.

      1. BobM54
        Happy

        Oh pleeeze don't tell the Apple Fan Boys they aren't productive Individuals!

        Come on Martin... don't be so cruel. The Apple Fan Boys can't stand it when people tell the truth about what iPads are used for. In their little world surfing for music is being productive and is a real business exercise. Even writing a small presentation to give to your teacher in Art History made up of copied photo's from the web is exhausting and can only be done while sitting on the beach to help their zen moments!

        /s

        And oh, I own both an iPhone and an iPad and enjoy what they are good for... that's it!

  26. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Following Nokia's business model, huh?

    I recall from my breif spasm in retail, it was called a "loss-leader".

    Nowadays, we simply call it a fuc*king stupid decision by someone (Canadian?) who should know by now that W7 isn't good, and car tyres are not square, unlike the South Park training video seems to teach.....

  27. QrazyQat

    "Anyone thinking they can create with a tablet is deluding themselves"

    You forget that nowadays the guy who pushes the start button on the computer that does stock trading for a bank thinks he's a "creator".

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Happy

      That guy is most certainly deluding himself.

      Case proven, methinks!

      More seriously:

      In industry, the tablet form factor works pretty well for two situations:

      A) Data consumption with a tiny aspect of note taking. Eg the massive stack of drawings that makes up the information needed to build a large building or large system. Carry one tablet or a 10kg stack of A2 printouts?

      B) 'Tickybox' data collection tasks where the results of the data collection are needed instantly.

      Tickybox data collection is of course almost always better achieved with a sheet of paper and a pen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Amazon is tech savvy, they are very experienced at selling digital content, and they have been selling Kindle devices for quite a while. Although they probably aren't making money from selling Kindle hardware, they probably aren't losing much, if any, on the devices. It is a mild gamble, but it is not a major change from what they have been doing very well.

  28. Richard Porter
    FAIL

    Competing with the Also-Rans

    You've said it before - people don't want tablets, they want iPads.

    Anyay, why are people stupid enough to buy things at $199 that they wouldn't buy at $200 or $201? I try to avoid buying anything with a 9 at the end of the price.

  29. Mikel
    Happy

    Heard a funny joke I wanted to share

    "Windows tablet."

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Seriously? You try to avoid buying products with a 9 at the end of the price? Why not just think about whether you would have spent $200 or $201 as you suggest?

      Or you know, why not asses whether the product is worth the fucking money? Plenty of bargains to be had that end with a 9, but they'd still be as good if they were that extra 1 more expensive.

      "You've said it before - people don't want tablets, they want iPads."

      I may not be a typical user, but I don't want an iPad. A tablet is handy for consuming, but an iPad just doesn't quite cut it for me, I like to be able to tinker about with things (or at least to have the option), don't particularly want to have to jailbreak to do it either.

      But like I say, not the typical user, but I might consider a fire at some point unless I decide I can afford something even better. I'd prefer to go Android as it means I can change hardware (as in move to a different type) and take my apps with me, what hardware options do I _really_ have in the Apple ecosystem at the moment?

      YMMV though

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      That's not the issue.

      The 9 bit is rather a tradition with a bit of psychology mixed in. Most people see $199, equate it to $200 and let it go at that. It's the fact that it's $200 tablet that's NOT a cheap knock-off from K-Mart--compared to the iPads which are SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive--that's turning heads. For most consumer electronics, US-wise, $200 tends to be the magic number that turns it from luxury to common item (then at $100 you drop further to basic necessity--BluRay players are reaching that point as more media starts going BluRay-only).

    3. Andus McCoatover
      Windows

      "I try to avoid buying anything with a 9 at the end of the price".

      Guess you drive a bike, not a car. Try buying petrol at a garage without a '9' at the end of the number....

  30. Chad H.

    Article seems to ignore

    Those prone memberships required for all the media goodies... Another was it $69pa...

  31. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    "Piss off a buyer, you'll probably get shitlisted from all of them."

    That's so fuc*king funny!!!

    Yep, in this economic climate....

  32. sleepy

    maybe it's profitable!

    From past news items, RIM must have made supplier commitments for 5 million or so Playbooks, but have stopped at about one million. Amazon must have taken over the design and supplier commitments, at a hefty discount. The deal is only just finalised, and RIM are now dumping their remaining Playbooks. Amazon have simplified Fire further to reduce cost. They haven't even got it working well enough for real demos yet, despite a supposed November ship date.

    Amazon can make a good profit on the first four million, and then decide what to do next.

    Amazon have never said how many Kindles they have sold. You don't even need a Kindle to buy ebooks from Amazon. You can use an IOS device, for instance, and there are over 200 million of them.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More ill-informed sh*t from the stupidly named iSuppli

    Please cut off their oxygen.

  34. Alan Denman

    If enough of you speak bollocks you start to believe it,

    That new Archos 8" was released last week at £200 in the UK (includes 20% sales tax).

    It looks far more appealing than the Kindle Fire with its extra connectivity, functions and 1026x768 screen..

    So have Archos decided to bankrupt themselves or is this idiotic mantra?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Price differences.

      It may be £200 in the UK, but the same tablet in the US, Wi-Fi only, runs closer to $300. not including S&H nor tax if you're in the wrong state. That's a 50% premium over the ad-supported fire and still $50 more (IINM) over the ad-free version. $300 is still rather the "maybe" territory for most people.

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