Apple: Kindle Fire Could Fragment Android Tablets

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Photo: andrewchx
Photo: andrewchx

Remember the old line about the enemy of your enemy is your friend? Well, that could apply to how Apple views the Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon. Originally seen as a rival to the iPad, the $199 7-inch device could actually scramble an already disorganized band of Android-based Apple competitors.

Only available for preorder for about six weeks, some Wall Street analysts expect up to 5 million of the devices will ship during the holidays. The tablet, heavily intertwined with Amazon services, uses a customized form of Android not totally compatible with other versions. This is what excites Apple and why the tech giant’s CEO and finance chief are not worrying about the threat.

According to Barclays Group analyst Ben Reitzes, who recently met Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chief Finance Officer Peter Oppenheimer, the company views the Fire more as a tool to divert developers from Android, fueling “further fragmentation in the tablet market.” Because the Kindle Fire apps work only Amazon products, the success of the tablet could erode support for Android alternatives – and that can only help Apple.

“The more fragmentation, the better, says Apple, since that could drive consumers to the stable Apple platform,” the analyst writes. Although Apple is likely to trim the iPad’s price the Cupertino, Calif. company will not “compromise the product quality and experience,” he adds.

The first Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, a 7-inch model, goes on sale November 15. A larger version, perhaps 10-inches, will probably launch during the second half of 2012.

What do you think? Is the Kindle Fire a threat to iPad, or just to other Android tablets? Let us know in the comments.