Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


New Kindle Fire: Amazon introduces tablet for Everyman (and every kid)

The new Kindle Fire's low price aims to vastly expand the tablet-buying population, and positions Amazon for the future of e-publishing and e-commerce. Merry Christmas!

By Staff writer / September 28, 2011

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon.com, introduces the Kindle Fire at a news conference, Wednesday, in New York. The e-reader and tablet has a 7-inch multicolor touchscreen.

Mark Lennihan/AP

Enlarge

Los Angeles

Amazon has certainly grabbed the latest bragging rights in the ongoing tablet wars with Wednesday’s unveiling of the Kindle Fire.

Skip to next paragraph

Sure, you can argue the fine points when comparing it to the Apple iPad, the industry frontrunner – Wi-Fi versus 3G, no camera or microphone, 8 GB storage with unlimited cloud storage versus a hefty 32 GB onboard the iPad.

But, the price point of $199, less than half that of the cheapest iPad, kicks open the tablet market to the mainstream, say tech watchers. And, they add, turns an important page in the evolving tale of digital publishing.

“This price point is what everyone has been waiting for,” says Mary Monahan, managing partner and research director of Javelin Strategy & Research, a third-party analyst firm. “Tablets themselves were game-changers, but a lot of people who were on the fence are going to be jumping down and getting in the game now,” she says.

With this cheap entry point, she adds, “this is something you will see families putting in the hands of children. It will be the must-have gift this Christmas season, no doubt.” The Kindle Fire will be available Nov. 15.

Amazon’s new device is the online giant’s bid to be ready for the future of digital content, says David Lankes, a professor and director of the library science program at Syracuse University’s iSchool in New York.

While the Fire is not the most technically advanced eReader or tablet on the market, it has some real hidden advantages, he says, such as the Amazon cloud storage and processing systems that Amazon has been providing to businesses for years.

“While many consumers haven’t heard about it, Amazon’s cloud back end makes local storage less important, and the cloud-based computing is starting to do interesting things like make browsing the Web much faster by doing a lot of the processing up in a very fast network and then sending it to the device,” he says via email.

The price is pretty incredible, he says adding, “and they are clearly aiming for folks who aren't quite sure what a tablet is, but can instantly get the idea of a ready platform to read, watch movies on, and surf the web."

The Fire will have a far-reaching impact, says e-commerce expert Fiona Dias of ShopRunner. It will accelerate people’s rush to online commerce by simplifying access even more, she says, noting that it is smaller than the iPad and is directly linked into the vast proprietary Amazon universe.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story