The tablet market got a bit more crowded today with the announcement of the Kindle Fire - Amazon's attempt to steal some market share from industry titan Apple and their iPad. With Amazon's $199 US price tag, the potential to makes waves is definitely there.
I, however, am underwhelmed with the Kindle Fire as a tablet.
While $199 may nearly put the Kindle Fire in the realm of a impulse buy, what it lacks compared to the other tablets is significant. There is no 3G or 4G capability, the 7-inch screen is smaller than both the newer Droid tablets (10.1 inches) and the iPad2 (9.7 inches), there is less on-device storage, no camera (video or still) and a shorter battery life.
However.... it is only $199.
And when you compare it to other eBook readers such as the Nook, the "regular" Kindle and the Kobo, which are all priced from $80 to $100, you start hearing the argument: "Hey, for only $100 more, I get all a bunch of extra features that an eReader doesn't have, and I don't have to splurge on an iPad".
The Kindle Fire will be running Google's Android OS and have access to the Android Market. The touch screen will make a bunch of tablet-only apps accessible to the eReader crowed, which is a significant step up from the current "book only" functionality of the currently Kindle, Kobo, et al.
So, based on the announcement today and my own musings, I don't think that the Kindle Fire will turn the tablet market on its head, nor will it steal a significant amount of market share from Apple. However, competing eReaders should probably be worried, because the Kindle Fire is a significant upgrade from the current offering.
At only $100 more than the basic eReader and a launch date of November 15th, there is a very good chance that Kindle Fire will be showing up under Christmas trees come December. Well, more so than its $499-and-up cousins, at any rate.
....but only if you live in the United States.
This article was originally posted on Christopher Pam's blog, Digital Soapbox.