Dec 29, 2011

How does the 4 million Kindle Fires sold over the holidays change the tablet market?

Four million of anything is a lot.  In the same year that we have seen RIM and HP stumble badly with tablets, Amazon has had sold an astonishing number of Kindle Fires. Is this going to have a long term impact in how tablets are viewed, used and sold, or is this a Timex-Sinclair computer kinda thing, where people just snap up a product with limited capability because of a low price point?



Nice trip on the way-back machine with the Timex-Sinclair reference. I remember wanting one of those little machines so much when I was a kid.


As for the Kindle Fire, I agree with jimlynch that it is more of a product that serves as a gateway to Amazon products and content than a serious tool for businesses.  What I think that Amazon has done is raise the awareness of tablets among the wider public, and make tablets something that is a more mainstream product instead of the domain of the tech savy, businesses and early adopters.  Still, there are ~300 million Americans, so 296 Million of them didn't get a Kindle Fire, so I wouldn't overestimate the impact.



There was an article that I read this morning that reported 89% of companies with 501-999 employees intend to purchase new tablets in the coming year.  I find that number surprisingly high, and although I have nothing to support this, I would not be surprised is some of those potential sales are influenced by all the press about tablets generated by the Kindle Fire.  On the other hand, pretty much all the business surveyed indicated that the tables they intend to purchase will be iPads, which is a much more appropriate choice for actual productive use than a Fire.   http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/12/29/most_smallmedium_business_...


I think the low price point is certainly a factor in this, as is Amazon's excellent selection of books, videos, etc. The people who want Amazon's ecosystem will find the Kindle Fire to be a good tablet.

However, I'm not really sure it changes the tablet market per se. It perhaps offers another option to those who want a lower price point, but those folks are really getting something is mostly just a gateway to Amazon's products.

There's nothing wrong with that. But I personally would not buy one. I have an iPad and I don't see any real advantage to using the Kindle Fire. I can already read Amazon ebooks on my iPad, so it makes little sense to buy a Kindle Fire unless I wanted videos or movies as well.

Still, I'm glad the Kindle Fire is available. It's more competition for Apple, Android, etc. And that's a really good thing for consumers. More choices, cheaper prices and hopefully better products. A win-win for everybody!
Answer this