We like underdogs. We like the fact that an underdog’s survival depends on them doing more, being better, and responding to changes quicker. Perhaps this is why we have been an Apple cheerleader since the days of the 128K Mac. When Apple introduced the iPad, we were strong proponents of the product. We made early claims that they would dominate the tablet ecosystem. Now that the prediction has come to pass, we are happy to see that a serious contender (not you HP, or you Xoom, or you Toshiba) is finally emerging to challenge Apple’s position in the tablet market. Not because we want to see Apple fail, but because we want to see them do even better. The contender, is of course, the 7″ Amazon’s Kindle Fire color tablet.
One of the many reasons why Apple has been so dominant in the tablet space is that they have control over the three key pressure points: hardware, software, and content. Hardware-only manufacturers are dependent on too many external factors outside of their control to mount a credible challenge against Apple. No small advantage in speed/features/price will sway a pontential customers to their offerings if it also does not include a great user experience. That means easy access to desirable content at a great price. Amazon knows this. They, of course, already have an enormous library of eBooks, eMagazines, music, TV shows, and movies. They are also renowned for their phenomenal customer support. Amazon needed an awesome piece of hardware at a great price to take on Apple. We think they may have done it with the Kindle Fire. While it is not the $100 tablet we had talked about, it is pretty darn close.
What is really exciting is to see the stream of announcements coming from Amazon regarding their new content partners. In the past week, they have announced strategic alliances with Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, ESPN, and many others. Amazon Prime members already enjoy free 2-day shipping, but now they will also be able to “borrow” books from the Kindle Lending Library for FREE! What a great idea! This is exactly the kind of thing we hoped we would see. It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to Amazon. One thing we know for sure, we, the customers, will be the beneficiary of this new competition.
As with the Apple iPad, our Amazon Fire order was placed on the first possible day. You betcha there will be an extensive FirstLook of this new challenger as soon as we get our hands on it. We will, of course, have a roundup of the Best-Of-Breed accessories out there for the new Fire. Yeah, life is good 🙂