Amazon announced its long-rumored Android tablet today, the Kindle Fire. The price is a scant, at least compared to other tablets, $199, which many, including our pal David (@dhaimes) are excited, but skeptical.
During the announcement, Jeff Bezos didn’t discuss specs, but rather focused on the content, which is what really matters. From the jump, Android tablets have been dissed for not having enough tablet-designed apps, something I believe doesn’t matter.
Apple focuses on apps for the iPad in order to suggest things you could do with it, many of which are accomplished with third-party apps. This is content. Amazon will take the same approach, focusing on its media offerings, Amazon App Store and retail store to suggest what you could do with the Kindle Fire.
Look at the Kindle as an example. The interface is clunky; it’s not a classically beautiful device, and yet, it’s enormously popular because of what it delivers, books.
Barnes & Noble has found similar success with the NOOK, but the Fire will include much more content.
Ultimately, apps don’t matter, content does, which is why other tablets have floundered.
For most consumers, the tablet represents new use cases, and it’s smart to nudge people toward what they could do with one. If you’re pitching an Android tablet against an iPad, you only have few areas to emphasize, possibly specs or a slightly lower price.
Amazon is pitching their content against Apple’s, as well as some other nuances, like this gem from the specs:
System Requirements: None, because it’s wireless and doesn’t require a computer.
The timing for the Fire is awesome too, right before the holiday shopping season. Amazon has an enormous trove of real credit cards, large enough to rival iTunes. One common use case for tablets is as a companion device to browse while watching TV. Imagine how much easier it will be to hit up Amazon to add an item your wishlist or to buy something you see on TV.
In a year’s time, I expect Amazon will show that the Fire has had a huge impact on retail sales, not just on streaming media.
Obviously, the price point matters too.
Anyway, things just got really interesting. Would you buy a Kindle Fire? Do its content offerings matter?
Find the comments.
Update: Silk, the new browser for the Kindle Fire seems pretty cool. It’s using EC2 to prefetch and cache content, making the experience faster for the user, something that will definitely make the Fire feel faster than it really is. Sounds similar to what mobile proxy browsers like Opera Mini do.