Over at my Challengers blog on Cnet News, I took a look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. everything else that looks sort of like it. I came to the conclusion that it’s a new take on tablets that’s not precisely like anything else–but that consumers will still compare it against the iPad, Android tablets, the Nook Color, other Kindles, and even the iPod Touch.
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I was lucky enough to be at Amazon’s press event yesterday in person. (I enjoyed the company of about 16,500 of you who attended our liveblog, cohosted by Macworld’s Jason Snell.) Amazon has now posted the full video of the event, so you can see what I saw:
In many ways, Amazon’s presentation mirrored Apple’s iconic Steve Jobs keynotes: CEO spouting stats, announcing products, and saving the best for last, interspersed with videos. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is a gifted speaker and did a good job. I was startled by one major difference between an Apple event and this one–Bezos received only sporadic smattering of polite applause. There were no thunderous ovations or wild cheering. I don’t think that was a sign that the audience wasn’t impressed–but the ratio of journalists to employees and VIPs may have been higher at the Amazon event than at typical Apple ones.
(Yes, there are some journalists who clap and hoot at Apple events, but it makes me cringe when they do. Non-journalist types, however, are entitled to get as raucous as they please.)
Amazon compromised on several hardware features of its Kindle Fire to deliver the most affordable mainstream 7-inch media tablet. Arriving on November 15 for $199, the Kindle Fire will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple’s iPad.
Since the market also contains several other Android competitors, can Amazon claim the number two tablet spot? Let’s take a look.
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Amazon Kindle Fire tabletAfter months of hype, Amazon today announced the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet with a $199 price tag. Amazon also refreshed its line of e-readers with a $149 Kindle Touch 3G, a $99 Kindle Touch without 3G, and a non-touch $79 Kindle.
The pricing alone is sure to spook both Apple and Barnes & Noble. Here are the details on the Amazon Kindle Fire and the new Kindle e-readers.
Everyone’s talking Amazon’s nifty new watch-out-Apple tablet, supposedly an Android derivative dubbed the “Kindle Fire,” but have you heard about the other two?
Yes, the other two. As we head into the eleventh hour, we’re hearing Amazon’s planning not one, not two, but three Kindle tablets for its Wednesday (tomorrow) dog and pony show. The so-called Kindle Fire is rumored to be an aggressively priced 7-inch color LCD Android slate, and may (or may not, depending who you read) be designed to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad. That said, it sounds like Amazon wants to support its “but we just want a decent e-reader!” audience as well, and will announce two black and white Kindles at tomorrow’s event, too.
The source: Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Amazon’s planning two 6-inch grayscale e-ink Kindles, dubbed “Tequila” (low-end) and “Whitney,” (high-end) to complement the color Kindle Fire (dubbed “Hollywood”).
Enough with the pretense–Amazon.com is unveiling its Android tablet tomorrow. (I’d like to see a new Kindle e-reader, too, OK?) I’ll be at the New York event and will liveblog it starting at 10am ET. I’ll also have a special guest: Jason Snell of Macworld, who will provide color commentary and generally hang out with us.
It may not surprise you to learn that Apple events get by far the highest liveblog attendance here at Technologizer. (Google Android events and Facebook ones are more or less tied for a distant second place.) I’ve never liveblogged an Amazon press conference, so I’m looking forward to it–and wondering whether, as with Apple events, tens of thousands of you will choose to join me.
Gdgt’s Ryan Block is reporting an interesting bit of scuttlebutt which I’ve also heard: that Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet is based on the same hardware platform as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook:
From there, Amazon’s team determined they could build a tablet without the help and experience of Lab 126, so they turned to Quanta, which helped them “shortcut” the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Of course, it’s never quite that simple, and as I’m told Amazon ran into trouble, and eventually sacrifices were made (like using a slower processor).
Hardware’s important, of course, but it’s not the only thing. As with Kindle e-readers, it’s the Amazon services that are going to be key in making the tablet stand out from other products that look similar.
TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has some related scuttlebutt: the Amazon tablet will be called the Kindle Fire, won’t be available until November, and will compete against a Barnes & Noble Nook Color 2 that’s also in the works for the holidays.
Oh, and Siegler says that Wednedsday’s Amazon event in New York will definitely include the tablet announcement. Which is good news, since I’m flying cross country to liveblog it. Join me at technologizer.com/amazon at 10am ET on Wednesday, won’t you?
This whole Netflix-Qwikster split had a fair number of people wondering if Reed Hastings had lost his mind. Hastings is no dummy, though, so there’s got to be some sort of method to the perceived madness.
Industry analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note to clients the very same thing; that there’s “a method to their madness,” reports MarketWatch.
Pachter’s theory? Netflix could sell its streaming business to Amazon, a company with deep pockets that’s been aggressively trying to make inroads with its digital content offerings. It’s done well with digital books, it’s still trying to get its footing with digital music, and perhaps now we get to see how big it can go with movies and TV. And what better way to go big with streaming movies and TV than to buy the company best known for streaming?
On Wednesday, September 28th at 10am ET, Amazon.com is holding a press event in New York City. The odds seem good that it’ll announce an Android-based tablet there. So I’m making the hike to the east coast to attend, and will liveblog the event at technologizer.com/amazon. For the moment, at least, Amazon feels like the company most likely to release something that can truly rival the iPad, so I can’t wait to know more…
TechCrunch’s MG Siegler got to play with Amazon’s upcoming 7″ Android-based Kindle tablet for an hour. He liked it! Sounds a lot like Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, and will supposedly sell for the same price: $250.