Some experts prophesied Jeff Bezos’ would announce a new Kindle Fire, and perhaps an entry into the smartphone space yesterday. Well, soothsaying techies were only half right, Amazon’s boss introduced the New Kindle Fire HD, one very real competition to Apple’s tablet supremacy.
The Hardware Gloves Come Off
As is the case with most hardware innovation, sooner or later competition drives the cost down and the feature list up. Once there was only Apple, now Bezos presents the only true contender for the touted iPad tablet crown, the Kindle Fire HD. Sporting a lot of what what iPad offers, the new 7 and 8.9 inch Kindle models present one huge differentiating point, that is the humongous software ecosystem of Amazon.
At the $500 price level, Apple may be unable to compete with Amazon’s customer/sales system. It’s a bit funny, most gadget face offs end up being about miniscule differences in product specifications. Not so at this stage of tablet marketing, but Amazon has apparently done their part to make comparisons “apples to apples” as the saying goes.
- Display – 8.9-inch LCD IPS
- Resolution – 1,920 x 1,200
- OS – Android 4.0
- Processor – Dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP4 4470
- Memory – TBA
- Storage – 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB
- Sound – Dolby audio, dual stereo speakers
- Camera(s) – Front & rear (TBA)
- Cellular – AT&T 4G LTE (Bluetooth + WiFi also)
Sales System KO Punch
Once a sort of “spec parity” makes hardware devices roughly equal, it’s what’s behind the product that matters. Service after the sale wise, Apple and Amazon seem to run neck and neck. However, Amazon’s massive shopping community is another story. The integrated way in which the company has approached everything these years, perhaps time and incremental development, makes for a powerful competitive edge. Just scrolling down the list (link at top) of software and stuff Kindle Fire HD can do is almost arduous, really. This will show the reader all there is to know about the coming duel for tablet market dominance.
Then looking at Amazon’s customer base, a far broader and more integrated and interactive ecosystem exists at Amazon versus Apple or any other. Sarah Rotman Epps over at Forrester Research sums up this concept of “ecosystem” well, and I quote:
“In a Forrester survey of 4,650 US consumers conducted online in August 2012, 31% reported that they had a credit card on file with Amazon, compared with 18% that have one stored with Apple, and 5% with Google.”
Bezos’ announcement just connected the world’s biggest and most active shopping community with Amazon’s own equal (relatively) tablet product. But there’s more. Amazon also offers their own 4G data plan at a very reasonable $50 a year for a 250MB data rate each month and 20GB of cloud storage.
“Will Kindle Fire HD overtake iPad?” Here again we enter into speculation, but it seems clear the Amazon offering is going to cut into someone’s market share. Apple’s iOS ecosystem and their reputation for hardware quality remain persuasive, and the Mac community while somewhat smaller, is supremely loyal. I own an iPad myself, and cannot envision finer quality construction. Kindle will take Amazon’s table sales past 25% of the market, this seems a certainty. Who’s share of revenue will be lost? Anyone should be able to guess.
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