When Amazon entered the tablet market with the original Kindle Fire its most revolutionary feature was its price.It only costs $199, which was significantly less than rivals at the time. Last week Amazon released a new version of the Kindle Fire and once again much of talk about about tablet centered on how Amazon was able to get its prices so low.
CEO Jeff Bezos says it’s because, “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.” In other words, all the shopping you do on Amazon with a Kindle Fire subsidizes the price of the hardware.
Another way to look at it is that Amazon makes its hardware so cheap because once you buy the device Amazon is constantly trying to sell you more stuff.
It has advertisements on the lock screen, which sounds like a chintzy, annoying thing to deal with. And the Amazon operating system is constantly suggesting you download or buy other stuff. (See this post from Steve Kovach.)
We’re waiting to read the full reviews of the Kindle Fire HD before passing judgment, but these features sound really annoying.
But what’s really incredible about the ads in particular is that if a user wants to get rid of them, he or she has to pay $15. That means if someone really want a 7-inch Kindle HD without annoying ads on the screen it will cost $214 all-in.
Suddenly Amazon’s cheap tablet isn’t all that cheap.
Remember, Google released the Nexus 7, a critically acclaimed 7-inch tablet for $199. Google, the number one online ad company in the world doesn’t even have the gall to stick ads on the front screen. It’s not constantly trying to upsell you like Amazon.
And, more importantly, Google makes the software that underpins Amazon’s tablet.
Amazon’s Kindle tablet runs on software that’s built on top of Android, which is Google’s software. Because of that, it means Kindle users are never going to have the latest, greatest version of Android. They’re also going to be missing out on Google services like Google Maps, built-in Google calender, etc.
Amazon has its own versions of those apps, and it’s got its own software that’s supposed to improve Android. But last year those apps and that software was inferior to Google’s Android software. Which makes sense since Google has been doing this for five years. Amazon has been doing it for one year.
Anyway, our point is that the Kindle Fire costs more than Google’s tablet and runs on software based on an out-dated version of Android software.
While $199 for a tablet once sounded like a great deal, with Google’s $199 Nexus 7 in the market, it’s not quite the revolution it was a year ago.
UPDATE: We should note that Google’s $199 tablet only has 8 gigabytes of storage, while Amazon’s $214 tablet has 16 gigabytes of storage. Therefore you could argue that Amazon’s tablet is a better deal.
Don’t Miss: Do Not Pre-Order The Kindle Fire HD
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