Kindle Fire: Fuelled By Amazon’s Investment In The Web [Opinion]



Wow. Kindle Fire is going to be huge.

Amazon, like Apple, has lots of pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, and has pulled them all together in the Fire.

First, there’s the content: check. All the books, music and video you’re likely to want in an average lifetime is already in Amazon’s database. Apps? Yeah, they have them too.

Second, there’s the network: check. WhisperSync has proved itself as a helpful way of syncing your progress through your Amazon-purchased stuff as you read it on various devices. Now it’ll do the same for music and videos.

Third, there’s the storage: check. Amazon spent years building up Amazon Simple Storage, then using it as the backend for its consumer-oriented Cloud Drive cousin.

Fourth, the cloud computing capacity: check. S3 handles storage of files, but Elastic Cloud Compute is hard at work too, doing the bulk of the processing for Amazon’s new Silk web browser. The downside? It means Amazon knows what you’re browsing, and anticipating what you might click on next so it can pre-fetch those pages in the background. Some people will be worried about possible privacy issues; chances are most folk won’t give a damn.

Amazon, like Apple, has the whole product ecosystem all tied up and ready to go.

Also, like Apple, it is pricing these mothers to sell. At $199, the Fire is an extremely affordable gadget. Amazon’s desperate to get these things into people’s hands, because it’s like having the Amazon website under your very nose. Buying more stuff will be so easy.

The Kindle Fire is much cheaper than an iPad, but lacks many of the iPad’s features. Is that going to bother people? Perhaps it’s not as good as an iPad, but the Fire offers the essentials: web, media, email, social networking, games. For many people, that’s enough. Enough, for 200 bucks.

Over to you, Cult of Mac readers: will you buy one?

  • Daniel Kurz

    Apple will have to lower the basic IPad 2 to $299. Sure, there’s no camera, but this device will open up tablet computing to the masses…and especially…to schools. 

  • myz06vette

    Absolutely agree. I just wrote a similar post. I think the Kindle Fire will be huge for both Amazon and consumers. 

    “The way to compete with the iPad without actually competing with the iPad.”

  • PBR

    “Also, like Apple, it is pricing these mothers to sell. ”  HUH???? Apple’s making huge, huge, margins on devices that are NOT the friendliest of consumer prices.  You gotta get off the Kool-Aid.

  • ipad2king

    No …. its s*** 

  • TylerHoj

    I think I’m going to wait until the Sony Tablet P comes out. I’ve been looking for an extremely portable tablet that’s much more portable than my iPad 2. The Sony Tablet P seems to fit the bill, but then this tablet comes along and screws over my plans. It’s cheaper than an iPod touch and just as portable as the Playbook, which I was eyeing. So I’m going to keep playing the waiting game until very, very early next year. Right before it’s time to buy an iPad 3, cause you know I will! :) 

  • TylerHoj

    I think the iPad, even with it’s $499 price tag[which is the standard for a good quality tablet] already opened up the “masses” to tablet computing. 

  • 6pm

    I am an APPLE guy; iPhone, iPad and Mac (4 Macs including the old Powerbook in new condition); I just ordered 4 Amazon Kindle Fire for my brothers and sisters. None of them has Apple products. The Fire is just right for them to use and affordable to give as a gift for the Holiday. No question about it.

  • Daniel Kurz

    Tyler, when I speak of the ‘masses’ I mean lower income people as well. In Paterson New Jersey, kids don’t use iPads because their parents cannot afford them.

  • Wayne_Luke

    The iPad can do so much more that they don’t need to lower the price. I can’t replace my iPad with a Kindle Fire. Even disregarding my investment in video and apps, there are many things I do on the iPad that this wouldn’t simply because it doesn’t have a microphone or camera.

  • Paul Bagguley

    I think you’ll find a different market of consumers buying it. Maybe it doesnt have the feature set of the IPad (which I have and love) but not everyone is willing to pay for, or even wants it. Myself Ill continue with Apple because I like it. If I was going to buy my Mum a tablet for christmas, Id probably go with amazon for that

  • joe smith

    I’m an Apple fan but I think this is good for everyone. This is real competition, which will give Apple more incentive to innovate and make tablets affordable for everyone.

  • MacMan


    Want all that Kindle content? Just run Kindle on iPad.

    However here is something keeps missing. For those not living in the US (and that’s the majority of the human race) how come I can’t get all the content Amazon US can, and will, sell me on my non-US iTunes store? The content providers should be FORCED to make the same content available to Apple globally or Amazon US be FORCED to only sell to Americans.

  • Bruce Miller

    No. But I bet they will sell a lot of them. It looks pretty well put together. 

  • Andy Murdock

    I usually pick up my iPad to play a quick game, read some news, and then I drop it and take a nap. I only shop at iTunes and the app store with the iPad. So, I see no need to add another device that needs to be charged up, found when lost and maintained.

  • dbwie

    These will sell.  Not to me because I already have the iPad 2.  It offers some attractive capabilities at that price point.

  • pangeomedia

    I’m willing to let the market decide. $199 is an attractive entry point but the features don’t stack up. It’s basically a device to use Amazon, rather than a full-fledged tablet, and far less than an iPad. Other than price, what’s the compelling reason to buy? Quicker access to Amazon?

    I find it interesting that Apple’s iPad supposedly has anywhere from 65% to 80% of the US market for tablets. At best, that’s one out of five. In a year and a half since the iPad debuted, I have yet to see any competitor tablet in the wild (at Costco and Best Buy and Radio Shack, but not in a buyer’s hands). Not one. What’s that say?

    Oh, and why doesn’t Amazon release their Kindle sales numbers? Apple doesn’t mind telling everyone how many iPads have been sold (vs. shipped).

  • nolavabo

    Everybody seems to be missing the real point in all of this. The Amazon Fire may or may not kill the iPad. I, personally, am highly doubtful that this will happen.

    It will, however, kill stone dead every other Android tablet out there.

  • TheMacAdvocate

    Apple doesn’t lower its prices to cater to the masses, sorry. Maybe the Paterson kids can score one off the Apple Open Box site.

  • Craig Stark

    I see alot of people buying these, people who want a tablet but dont want to fork out the hundreds of £/$’s for an iPad/Android, lots of oldies too who want to get “down with the kids” and get their books and stuff on the go and get online easier.  Sure it doesn’t have camera’s or anorexic thin, but its does the job and does it well and Amazon will sell them by the buckets!!  I wont buy one, I have an iPad and Touchpad but I might buy one for a family member 

  • Andy Murdock

    One tired internet clique after another. please tell us to “Get a life”,”Get a clue” then “Get over ourselves” and finally “Get off the Kool-Aid”.
    Are there any original thoughts in there?

  • Asdf

    I already have an iPad 2 [amongst everything else Apple’s ever made] but damn, @ $199 that baby is gonna move imho. I’d recommend one for a lot of people like my mom who read a lot, browse the web, check email etc. AND THATS ALL SHE DOES.

  • AlecTheFirst

    Well at least you back your point up with sound reasoning. 

    I shouldn’t imagine anyone with “ipad2” in their name to even give this a chance, though.

  • AlecTheFirst

    You forgot to tell us to “Go die in a fire.”

  • Figurative

    It’s not going to affect business iPads in any manner.  It would be interesting to see if they came out with a 3G & WiFi version for ~ $250.  That might be more useful for some.

  • Alfiejr

    well, GT, here you are gushing over the Fire like a school kid. but really, an on-paper “ecosystem” is what it is all about? ok, given that no one actually HAS a review unit to really use …

    what we do know and should ask is:

    – it ties its owners into the Amazon ecosystem for media/apps even more tightly than iOS does with Apple’s iTunes etc. e.g and very importantly, iTunes Match/iCloud will include music you buy at Amazon, but the Amazon Cloud will not store/stream music you bought on iTunes. how will consumers respond to the even higher walls of this Amazon “walled garden”?

    – what about Google’s apps? and what is its default search engine? is Amazon freezing Google out? now that would be the REAL “fight” if they are …

    – how does it compare to its absolutely direct competitors – all those other Android 7″ tabs running 2.2 Froyo too, instead of the iPad? besides being cheaper … until you add the $80 a year it takes to get all the media, taking the true cost over two years to $360.

    – just how big a total overall market demand is there for 7″ tablets of any brand with any kind of OS? really? there are a lot being “shipped” these days by hopeful OEM’s, but how many are consumers actually buying? maybe there isn’t that much real demand, and maybe there never will be …

  • iDaBoss

    Amazon cloud can upload your music from iTunes.
    Seeing as reading might be a major use of the Kindle Fire, the 7″ is probably better choice than 10″

  • iDaBoss

    you have a tablet, so you don’t want another tablet. glad to know

  • reg park



  • Greisha Melendez

    Good point!

  • imajoebob

    I’ve said before, and will again (and again) that the perception of this is an eReader that also does the web.  If that’s what you’re looking for, this is going to make you happy.  But if you’re looking for a tablet computer you’re not.  It’s an interesting price point, but then again… I can get a standard eReader for about 100 bucks. I can get a full blown tablet for an extra 100 bucks.

    I’m thinking this is a lot like the early “pocket reference” devices versus the Palm Pilot.  You could get an electronic dictionary for 70 bucks, a calendar for about the same.  Or you could spend $250 on a Pilot, which did that, docked with your PC, plus a whole lot more.  So the dictionary guys decided to fold in the calendar, address book, calculator, and a few other things, and only asked about $129.  And everyone looked at them and said they were a great improvement and a really attractive price point.  And they bought the Palm Pilot.  Because it did all that AND did the apps and the sync and a lot more.  The value of the Pilot was just a lot more.

    You’ll see a bunch of gadget heads snapping these up for their collections, and more than a few eReaders upgraded.  And you’ll also see a bunch of hackers turning these into some Frankenputer that “kills” compared to the iPad.  But in the end it may only compete as a high-end reader, while the iPad remains king of the tablets and Androids slug it out for bargain basement dominance.

  • gilest

    apologies, my British-English spellcheck didn’t catch that

  • Brazilian

    iPad 2 is magical, nothing else is. 7-inch screen to read and watch anything? Forget it.

    But, I’d never buy an iPad for my kids … Kindle Fire though for $200 ? … very likely …

  • Pauly
  • Amajamus

    I just downloaded my entire iTunes catalog on Amazon (all 120GB) and it plays flawlessly. What it wont play are DRM files from iTunes.

  • Amajamus

    There are different laws in each country. There are some books in the US that are now out of copy-right…ie public domain but the public domain laws are different per country. Try a little research…every country does not try to emulate the US…

  • Ron

    Pre-order placed. my iPad 2 is not a comfortable reading appliance. too heavy. I suppose I could build up my wrist strength but . . . . The reading surface, especially the off white is great. Not having a border (frame) is a problem when reading too and I often advance a page inadvertently. I will be happy to use the Fire as the reading tool for books and saved web pages articles. The iPad is my portable near-Desktop computer for taking with me. The iPad 2 magic is wearing off a bit though and the 13-inch Air is starting to look more and more attractive because of the keyboard and hard screen cover. Decisions, decisions.

  • Oprah Noodlemantra

    To my fellow American, please be aware that you’re not the lone eagle out there. There were people using English way before we mangled it. Stop being a jerk.