Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
After owning the tablet market all to itself for a year and half, Apple’s iPad now has to make room for another device with the arrival of the Kindle Fire from Amazon.Is the Kindle Fire as good as the iPad? Nope. But at $200, it’s good enough.
Not many people will need to own an iPad and a Kindle Fire. For all the iPad can do, it’s still a complementary device to a traditional computer. If you’re just looking for a device that can browse the web, stream video, and play games, then the Fire is an excellent option at $200.
And unlike all other tablet sellers, Amazon has an amazing distribution channel with Amazon.com. In fact, it’s already running an ad for the Kindle Fire (as well as the other Kindles) on its home page.
In the short term (next three months) Apple will be fine. The iPad 2 is still the best device. It’s still going to sell millions. Amazon might not even have enough Fires on hand to meet demand, so Apple will still be able to ring up sales.
In the long term (next six months), Apple will have to respond. It’s probably going to have to cut the price of the iPad. Or, perhaps it has to offer pricing differentiation like it does with the iPhone. Maybe the iPad 2 is $350 and the iPad 3 is $500.
Whatever the case may be, Apple is no longer the only tablet maker that matters.
As for the rest of the market, well, it was barely on life support as it was. Now it’s totally dead. Sorry Motorola, Samsung, and HTC.
It should be noted Amazon wasn’t allowing hands-on demos at the Kindle Fire event. We only got to see Amazon’s people play with the Fire. It looked good. We spoke with a fellow reporter who got a demo from Amazon last week and played with it for 10 minutes. He liked it.
If the reviews come in for the Fire and hammer the software and the device, then we reserve the right to change our mind. But, Jeff Bezos and Amazon have consistently proven that they can deliver quality products. Unlike Research In Motion, this isn’t amateur hour.
We’d be stunned if the Fire wasn’t a great product at a great price.
And that should make every other tablet maker — including Apple — nervous.
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