There is a buzz today about Amazon’s new Kindle Fire, a tablet intended to compete with Apple’s iPad. I first heard the announcement on the radio this morning while munching my breakfast—and I have already received three press releases about it.
Apple reportedly sells 7 out of every 10 tablets, with more than one competitive product left floundering—or having drowned—in its wake. Amazon’s Kindle Fire is competitively required to protect Amazon’s Kindle-loyal readers and all the books that they consume. Karl Volkman, of Chicago-based SRV Network, Inc., notes that Amazon’s foray may be successful because:
- The Kindle Fire costs far less than Apple’s iPad 2.
- The Kindle Fire will run a revved-up version of Google’s Android software, an operating system that has given Mac’s iOS software a run for its money on smart-phones.
- Kindle’s existing momentum as a more popular alternative for reading books than the iPad.
What does this mean? There is now one more device for publishers to work with and more device for people to consider, with the e-reader/tablet market becoming more congested before it becomes clearer. The result is that publishers—and consumers—who pick the wrong device will be left with old hardware they can’t use and books that they can’t read. (How many audio cassettes, video disks, and VHS videotapes do you have laying around?)