Author: Riley Alexander, MD, MBA
Despite the overall form factor and even the name being out there, Amazon still managed to sneak a few surprises into it's press conference today unveiling it's color tablet, the Kindle Fire. The biggest of these being the price: $199. This is huge. While many the list of tablets entering the fray seems to be growing by the second, essentially none have been able to get much below $400-500 for a release price. This tablet takes the low-cost approach to Apple's philosophy: deliver on experience and content, don't worry about specs--and I think it will do very well.
While many will look at this as more of a "deluxe e-reader" (and I don't think that's necessarily wrong or a bad thing), this device will offer a lot for the money, including Amazon's enticing new (flash-supporting) browser, Amazon Silk. Users will also have access to the Amazon Android app store. I can't see this not being a hit for this holiday season.
I do think this may hurt or at least stifle some of the iPad's momentum, but I truly don't even see the two as being true competitors. The iPad is 10", the Kindle Fire is 7"; the iPad has much more horsepower and internal storage (at least it can), the Kindle Fire is designed around utilizing the cloud and being light and ultraportable. The Kindle Fire should fill that low-end gap for people who don't need/want all the things an iPad can do--all with a clean, unified experience.
Unless the Nook Color 2 comes along and exceeds this (on price and usability)--I think I've found the e-reader to replace my cumbersome textbooks.
The Kindle Fire is available now for pre-order and will ship on Nov. 15, 2011. For full details, see here: Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi
About the author:
Dr. Riley Alexander is a pathology resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, blog "addict" and avid follower of technology. His primary interests revolve around how technology, especially mobile, will create increased efficiency, enhanced physician education and better delivery of care in the medical field. Dr. Alexander is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine with a combined MD/MBA, in partnership with IU's Kelley School of Business. Due to this, he is also very interested in management, healthcare policy and non-clinical aspects of the medical field and enjoys exploring non-clinical opportunities for medical students, residents and physicians. He completed his undergraduate education at IU-Bloomington.