Before We All Get Too Crazy Over Amazon's New Tablets ...

Jeff Bezos

Photo: Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Amazon just rocked it with a big press conference announcing new Kindle hardware.The most impressive thing is that Amazon is going to offer the Kindle Fire HD, an iPad alternative for $299. That’s $100 less than the cheapest iPad on the market.

How can Amazon do this? Jeff Bezos says that Amazon makes money when people use Amazon products, not when they buy them. That’s a shot at Apple which makes its money selling iPads and iPhones.

Some people in my office are really excited about what they just saw. Some people on Twitter are really excited about what they just saw. And that’s because it’s exciting! New toys that can blow up the incumbents are always thrilling. And these Kindles fit that bill.

But, before we all get too excited, let’s not forget that we’ve seen this movie before.

A year ago Amazon announced the $199 Kindle Fire.

I thought it was an amazingly disruptive idea. And a year later, I was proven correct. Google has scrambled to catch up releasing the $199 Nexus 7. Apple is reportedly going to release a 7-inch iPad in a month.

However, I wasn’t 100% right in my assessment of the Kindle Fire. I assumed it was going to be a good enough hardware package coupled with a really good software experience.

I was wrong. Amazon’s software was really bad. As a result, sales cratered and the iPad remains king. The Kindle Fire hasn’t been a flop, but once people actually got their hands on it, sales fell off.

Eventually Amazon updated the software and it became less balky. But, it’s still not as good as the iPad.

Before people go crazy thinking that the Kindle Fire HD is going to blow away the iPad, let’s get our hands on one. Let’s see if Amazon has figured out how to make great software and great hardware.

Until I actually play with one, or read reviews of the Kindle Fire HD, I’m going to do my best to stay sane about this new tablet. I recommend you do the same.

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