"Punters have a notion now of what a tablet can do for them, not least thanks to all the marketing Apple has done."
Exactly. So they'll be thoroughly dissapointed when they find they can't do all that much on the Fire.
Demand for Amazon's 7in tablet, the Kindle Fire, is sufficiently strong to prompt the online retailer to increase its production orders by 42 per cent, it has been claimed. Amazon originally asked to be sent 3.5m Fires from Taiwanese factories before 2011 is out. Now it wants 5m of the devices, say component makers, according …
The expectations come from a combination of the cost and functionality - advertising/marketing may try and push the functionality/coolness but the cost of the product will drive the majority of sales.
As long as Fire owners can browse the Internet, play music/videos and Angry Birds, paying 50% less will make up for any other features the iPad has.
And while some Fire users will decide that they would benefit from the additional features an iPad I suspect that sales numbers will point to bad times ahead for manufacturers trying to sell tablets at ~£400+
Well the device can read books, watch movies, browse the web, play music, play games. What major feature is it lacking? I'm sure there is plenty of esoteric crap which got jettisoned and you're getting a lower spec tablet for your money but it's still a major saving.
I still think it's as short sighted to be locked into Amazon's service as it is to Apple's, but the fact is it does all the core stuff that a tablet should do and is a lot cheaper.
One thing I find really irritating with the Fire is the fact that it lacks both a webcam and a microphone. These days I take things like Skype, Fring or voicenotes just for granted and a tablet that has not even a microphone is just incomplete. And a VGA webcam and a mic are really dirt-cheap things to integrate.
Worth bearing in mind that they _sell_ them for £125. It probably _costs_ them substantially more, to make, than this. As with the Kindle, they'll be betting on selling content, to make up the difference. In fact, I'm guessing that Jeff Bezos is probably hoping Fire users DON'T just sit around surfing the Web, watching free videos on YouTube and playing games that Amazon didn't sell them.
This isn't just going to be a walled garden. It's going to be one where you have to pay, to sniff the flowers.
There does seem to be a sense that the major manufacturers (with some help from tech journos, like El Reg) are the ones to decide 'what the market wants', and how to divvy up 'the market' between various devices.
But we're the market. If we want some form of portable, digital gubbins, then each of us might well choose a big phone/tablet/netbook/ultrabook to suit our needs (and pockets).
Indeed, 'the market' might well decide that nothing on offer quite does the job, to our satisfaction.
"many Fire purchasers will be buying into the Amazon brand not Android, so the notion that Fire's Android won't be quite the same as, say, Samsung's Android isn't going to hinder sales."
Agreed, if you're talking about sales of the Kindle Fire tablet. But Apple has a point: the already fragmented Android market is about to become even more so. Remember, the Fire uses an OS forked from Android 2.2 ("Froyo"). Buyers won't care, because there's little or nothing about the Fire's user experience that hints at Android--it's an Amazon tablet all the way. But for developers, this makes things even more complicated than they are.
Amazon's promotional muscle and willingness to sell hardware below cost make it likely that the Fire will become the most popular 7" tablet. Where does this leave developers? Which version of Android will they target? Google would like it to be Android 3.x ("Honeycomb") and 4.x ("Ice Cream Sandwich")... but developers will flock to the best-selling hardware, since that's where they stand a chance of making some money. If the most popular hardware is Kindle Fire running a heavily customized version of Android 2.2, Google's development roadmap may become more or less irrelevant--it'll be Amazon calling the shots, by virtue of its dominant installed base.
Admittedly this is speculation, at least for now. But clearly the introduction of a tablet running a de-Googleized version of Android 2.2 with Amazon's massive sales potential behind it is not good news for competing Android tablet makers, or for Google.
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