Kindle Fire at $199 is not yet an iPad slayer

Posted on by Mike Evans

Well, that should be all the excitement over for the day. Next stop Cupertino on Tuesday to see what Apple has to say. Not that they will mention the Kindle Fire, of course.

If your interest is in consuming media and don’t mind being tied into one ecosystem, the new 7-inch Kindle Fire is a steal at $199. Although it looks like a tablet and talks the tablet talk, this is not yet a full competitor for the iPad (ignoring the size difference, of course). It is very much a device for buying Amazon stuff and for web browsing. The Amazon Silk mobile browser, with cloud-server support for speed, sounds interesting and I look forward to the first reviews.

For many people the Kindle Fire will press the right buttons and the price is compellingly attractive. It will seriously undermine devices such as the already ailing BlackBerry PlayBook.  But Amazon have tasted blood this afternoon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full-on iPad competitor launched next year.

Amazon have calculated they can afford to sell at these prices because of the future sale of content. It is highly probable that they will make a loss on the sale of every Kindle Fire. Apple doesn’t play this game, although they are striving to develop their content and cloud streaming capabilities. We will hear more of that next week. For the moment, iPad buyers will not see the Kindle Fire as a direct competitor and will pay the premium for an independent (and bigger) device which is not so closely linked with one content company. The future, though, is less certain after this morning.

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