I think it might be safe to say Amazon’s Kindle Fire has a lot of retailers and manufacturers a bit worried today, although they may not admit it.
Well, except for one well-known exception, of course.
And that worrying may be time well spent, as the $199 Fire will put a monkey wrench into the fourth-quarter plans for many companies.
The Fire may not be as powerful nor have as many features as the iPad or the Android Honeycomb-equipped tablets that have been or are now coming into the market, but the fact that the low-priced Fire is directly tied to Amazon makes it a powerful competitor.
Amazon can lowball the competition on the hardware’s price because it knows Fire owners will be taking many virtual trips to Amazon.com. With the recession still raging, having a low-priced tablet on the market that is linked to a shopping website is a plus.
Amazon even has a leg up on Apple, which can and has made a mint selling music and videos to its customers. However, Amazon can offer that and so much more, primarily books. Reading is still the favorite activity reported by most tablet owners and manufacturers have said they are having difficulty educating consumers on how to take full advantage of the entertainment side of their Android tablet. With the Fire, as with the iPad, there is now an easy direct connection.
The free-trial period for Amazon Prime should also be a huge boost, particularly with the holiday shopping season just around the corner. With the devices shipping in November, Fire owners will be able to do a ton of shopping at Amazon and not have to pay for shipping. That is a huge incentive right there to purchase a Fire.
While everything I have noted up until now would indicate the Fire will be a sure (excuse me) fire success, let me make this note: We will not know for sure until the average consumer starts to play with the device. If it is hard to use, not intuitive, or does not quickly and easily connect to Amazon’s services, then all bets are off.
After all, the world just saw another industry giant, Hewlett-Packard, take a massive gamble on a tablet offering and quickly decide the category was too tough and pull out.