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Kindle Fire already changing the tablet landscape

Posted: , posted by Michael H.

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Kindle Fire already changing the tablet landscape
We already knew that if a trusted brand were to release a tablet with access to similar amounts of content, but at a far lower cost, that would directly impact the Apple iPad. It's the same thing we hear all the time, and it's the reason why Android has been taking smartphone market share by the fistful - cost is the number one factor for most consumers. It doesn't matter if the iPad can do more than the Fire, or if Honeycomb tablets have better apps than the Fire, it's a matter of how much consumers are willing to pay for these gadgets.

The Kindle Fire began shipping from Amazon today, and the reviews are relatively positive. The prevailing thoughts are that the Fire has a solid UI, a hugely impressive content store, and a great price, but is a bit buggy and has a limited selection of apps. The selection of apps is a hard thing to judge, because while the Amazon Appstore doesn't have the hundreds of thousands of apps available in the iTunes App Store or Android Market, it does have around 10,000 apps, which isn't so bad. Unfortunately, those apps are all phone apps scaling to a larger screen, so while there is a good number of apps to choose from, most are games, and none really take advantage of a larger screen. Although, what is lacking in the Appstore is more than made up for in the Amazon MP3 Store, video store, and Kindle store.

But, the Kindle Fire doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be worth $199, and it's hard to say that it isn't. At $199, the Kindle Fire is less than half the price of the Apple iPad, and it is the cheapest Android tablet on the market, even cheaper than the OG Samsung Galaxy Tab. The OG Galaxy Tab may have access to the entirety of the Android Market, but doesn't have specs to match what the Kindle Fire offers, and the new Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is twice the price of the Fire.

Purchase intentions

All that leads to two new surveys, which have found that a significant number of respondents admitted to delaying or even cancelling plans to purchase an Apple iPad or other Android tablets in favor of the newly released Amazon Kindle Fire. As usual, we want to touch on these surveys not because it is something that needed a survey to prove, but because it's always fun to put numbers with things that we already knew.

Kindle Fire already changing the tablet landscape
In October, ChangeWave and RBC Capital Markets surveyed 2600 people and found that 5% of respondents planned to pre-order or purchase a Kindle Fire "right away". But more amazingly, of those who had planned to purchase another device, 73% put those plans on hold or cancelled after the announcement of the Fire. And, 26% of those who had planned to purchase another device, had originally planned to purchase an iPad, but delayed or cancelled those plans.

Kindle Fire already changing the tablet landscape
In a similar study, Social Nuggets looked at 200,000 social media discussions between September 28th and November 7th, and found that 1% intended to buy a tablet. Before the announcement of the Kindle Fire, the intentions were fairly split with 44.2% planning to buy an iPad and 40.8% planning to buy Android. However, after the Kindle Fire announcement that changed dramatically with the iPad falling to 22.6% of intended purchases, and Android tablets at 12%. The Kindle Fire had 62% of purchase intents.

Conclusion

The buzz around the Kindle Fire is amazing, and it makes perfect sense. This is the cheap tablet that everyone was expecting would disrupt Apple's dominance in the consumer tablet space. Regardless of how it compares on features, apps or performance, it's hard to argue with a $199 price tag on a device from a brand as trusted as Amazon. Amazon may not take over the tablet market any time soon, and Apple is likely going to stay on top for a while longer, but it's certainly not a one-horse race any more.

For those looking for a deeper experience, an iPad or a Honeycomb (soon to be ICS) Android tablet is still likely the best option. But, most users aren't looking for a deeper experience. The market segment that Apple hit with the iPad is with consumers looking to consume, meaning people who aren't looking for the most apps, or the best productivity options, but rather, those looking to read books and magazines, watch movies, listen to music, play games, and maybe do some web browsing or light communications. That is exactly what the Kindle Fire offers, but at a fraction of the cost of the competition. Amazon will be losing money on each Fire sold, but making it back in content sales and market share.

sources: Social Nuggets & ChangeWave

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