So meet the family. These are premium products at non-premium prices. People are going to love these products.
This is Amazon's mission statement for product development. They will not compete with Apple's "revolutionary, magical" phones and tablets; instead, they'll sell quality tablets and readers to the average person at great prices. This populist attitude has been missing from the tablet market since the iPad's release.
The Fire will be the first successful Android tablet because the user base already exists. With the last few Kindle generations, Amazon has groomed customers to pay for electronic content. These users will buy Kindle Fires and e-Ink Kindles in droves, buy more books, and tell their friends.
At this price, Amazon won't steal Apple's customers. They will simply introduce a new segment of people to the tablet market. Developers need to think about this as another golden ticket. Here's the iOS gold rush, part deux.
EDIT: changed "luxurious" to "revolutionary" after reading a comment below. I need more coffee.
Especially at this price point, it's not a replacement for a computer, it's squarely a supplement.
I think I prefer this vision to Apple's. It feels more democratic in that I think the iPad wants to replace computing, but privilege consumption at the expense of production.
Amazon's vision is still one of centralized distribution of content, but it strikes me as one that's comfortable coexisting with the Web model of distributed, democratic content production.
Some earlier discussion on the topic: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2955516
[Edit: Here's another take by Nilay Patel of This Is My Next on a similar point: http://thisismynext.com/2011/09/28/editorial-kindle-fire-ipa... ]
Also the market seems to be pushing back on things like TVs that are also internet browsers.
So the vision here is very important, and the Kindle as simply a window that lets you look at the books you have is pretty compelling. The $80 ad supported one, I want an open source text book library for that. The school district can give those to every student and save money.
How cool would that be! My library finally got the overdrive support so I wanted to check out an e-book (an audiobook) to try out on my kindle/iphone. And found a nice book that I wanted to read and the page says, "available copies : 0, library copies : 1, No. of patrons in waiting list : 23, Click here to add yourself to the waiting list".
File this under w.t.f.
Amazon can pull it off, because they don't need to make money with the tablet: as long as it sells ebooks and movies, it remains profitable for them. Since there's nobody to challenge them on this market, they will get the volumes to drive the BOM prices down, too.
HP hadn't the option to make money by selling ink cartridges for subsidized tablets, as they used to do with printers...
Barnes & Noble is in this space too, and they have hundreds of stores that will serve as points-of-sale for the Nook. Don't forget them.
EDIT: apologies to the European HNers. Still, those B&M stores in America are incredibly popular, making it easier for Barnes & Noble to find new Nook users.
They're actually an albatross. Ask Borders how popular physical book stores are. B&N is only still alive because of its digital business. Barely alive too, Amazon is 150x larger in terms of market cap. Digital sales are up, physical sales are down and at the end of the quarter they are losing a lot of money.
The Kindle line is sold in Target. I'd wager Targets are more popular and will be around longer than B&N. Even better, it doesn't cost Amazon a dime to keep Target stores open.
Since vendors often pay retailers for prime shelf space, Amazon might in fact contribute to keeping Target stores open. Still, I get what you mean.
However, B&N's main advantage compared to Amazon is its network of B&M stores, right? Now, the bet here is "let's lose money on the tablet, and hope that people buy tons of ebooks".
I'd guess that people for whom the existence of B&M stores is important aren't going to be the biggest ebook buyers: they'll be more into dead tree books, on average. If B&N subsidizes their Nook, and it's only used as a web browser, B&N has lost.
Bad idea. I saved about $75, but had to deal with billing errors, cancellation of part of my order, slow and overpriced shipping, and that cost me several hours of my valuable time. I was astonished at how poor the experience was.
This is after wondering why I could order books from Amazon and they arrived 9am the next day (the joys of living in a teeny country like the UK :P) but when I ordered X other thing from different sites it took days, and was full of mistakes.
Amazon have absolutely nailed the shipping side of online retail - which is usually what people most complain about in retailers, after all!
Seriously though, do Barnes and Noble actually sell the Nook to international customers? They certainly don't market it over here, while Amazon have run quite a lot of TV and print ads. Buy the look of it I'd have to buy the device and books in US dollars instead of my local currency. These things don't give me the feeling that B&N are serious about sales outside the US, while Amazon definitely are.
What's this Nook thing you're talking about?
I can't imagine living my life without it. Seriously.
States do have a right to tax their individual citizens who purchase online. Unfortunately, most citizens do not comply with these state taxes (called "use taxes" because they aren't on a sale, the sale occurs out-of-state).
I've seen Kindles in Wal-marts and Targets recently.
Apple's operational mastery and their cornering of the NAND flash market in particular is a big part of this.
Tim Cook has been running operations at Apple for a decade now. Here's a 2006 story about Apple's number two:
I think a lot of people with iPads would have been more than happy to spend half as much to get an easy-to-use tablet.
For what it's worth, I couldn't justify an iPad for $500. I would absolutely consider a Fire for $200 (or a Fire 3G for $250-300).
My mom (she's a minister) just got an iPad, when all she needed was a handheld device with which she can scroll the text of a eulogy, when she's at a grave doing a funeral. The lowliest of tablets can handle this task, but "iPad" is all people talk about. If Amazon can generate buzz -- and I think they can -- then it would certainly erode sales such as my mom's.
"Easy-to-use", which is far from a given on a non-iOS device, doesn't mean anything if there is not an attractive application base.
For those who use it extensively, they probably feel $500ish is worth what they paid.
For those who don't, sure they might wish they had spent less, but are these folks going to be satisfied with less functionality/apps/screensize/etc?
The iPad is popular with kids and elderly alike mostly due to it's larger screen size.
No 3G, not much storage space, lower resolution (as soon as Apple releases iPad's with retina display) and lack of an Apple logo make the Fire inferior, but with a much lower price it could make things interesting.
I think that Bezos quote is actually very Apple-like, what with "people are going to love these" and so on.
Sounds about like every time I've heard him speak. He probably let out some really loud laughs too.
Remember his welcome video to Zappos employees? It was a paper based presentation (giant sheets!) where among other things he explained mistakes he and Amazon made and then shared "everything I know". He's awkward at moments, but authentic throughout. I like his style.
It's a press conference, not a public event. You measure interest by camera shutter clicks, rather than applause :-)
He's already achieved his business objective, which is lots and lots of frothy press coverage and market position as a value provider. The longer the poor economic climate lasts, the more this pays off. I can see why you're skeptical, but I felt the same way when I first saw the kindle, and boy-was-I-wrong-about-that.
I wasn't trying to make an assessment of the product though - I was just trying to make about his presentation style. I think he was hoping for a rockstar presentation where everyone would get energetic and excited from the way he presented alone (regardless of the product).
I think the new kindles are cool :)
He's clutching a tablet-shaped-MacGuffin which may as well be a bottle of water for all his body language says about it.
Maybe he's gotten a sneak preview of what Apple has in store for October and it's now too late to change course.
the iPad is like a backyard swimming pool - you don't need one, but it's fun and all your friends will be impressed. the kindle is like a washing machine - you don't need one, but if you don't have one you're going to be going to the laundramat/reading paper books like a barbarian.
You analogy is only slightly less awful than mine.
Disagree completely. Everyone expected the iPad to cost $999, but they came in at a superlow price point that no one else could compete with and have sold tens of millions.
To paraphrase Bezos and Andy Warhol at the same time the iPad is the Coke of tablets, we're still waiting for a Pepsi and every working class guy on the street knows he can get the same iPad as the President and no amount of money can get you a better tablet then the iPad that guy on the bus has. That's populism in the tablet market (or as they say, ipad market) to me.
- Absolutely correct. But all the other android tablet makers pricing their tablet anything over $300 will all get screwed by this for sure. [I cannot see what else they can do to justify double the price of the Fire without some brilliant ideas and innovations.]. They all refuse to do anything to the software. They also cannot match Apple's (and probably soon Amazon's) scale and huge volumes to get a good price on bulk-hardware. Nor do they have the "content" and "user base with credit cards" to match that of Apple and Amazon.
Good news is that we can expect more HP-touchpad like fire sales. Bad news is very few are going to want those even at those prices.
Amazon brilliantly played to their strengths. Kudos to Jeff Bezos and team!
My thoughts exactly.
I think credit for this should actually go to the Nook Color. Anecdotally, I actually know more Nook owners than iPad owners.
The most relevant details:
The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said. The device, a souped-up version of the Kindle electronic-book reader, will run on Google Inc.’s Android software, the Seattle-based company said.
The Kindle Fire doesn’t have an embedded camera or a microphone. The device offers Wi-Fi connectivity, though not 3G access, and comes with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, the company’s $79-a-year membership service that includes streaming video and free two-day shipping.
*AMAZON TO UNVEIL KINDLE FIRE TODAY, SELL TABLET AT $199 BN 9:31
What's ridiculous about it, apart from the competing DRM schemes and Amazon vs. all others aspect? Both formats are essentially zipped XHTML ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats#Mo... ), and are offered by many free ebook sites (feedbooks.com, manybooks.net, gutenberg.org etc.)
The BN Nooks were not available outside the U.S. (and Canada?) last time I looked.
Something like mupdf (which has already been ported) combined with some button/touch bindings and perhaps a touch-friendly zoom feature seems to me like it would do the job perfectly... and be an easy weekend hack for much of this site's target audience?*
I think you'd have to look long and hard for an e-ink reader with truly decent out-of-box PDF support and no serious failings in other areas — my search so far has been unfruitful, but please do tell if you've come across anything which fits the bill.
*edit: If someone actually does/has done this/something similar, please post about it here!
I think Kindle 3 is better for PDFs than the Nook Touch, because you can zoom in. It is clunky, but at least you can do it. On the Nook you can only change font sizes, and that reflows the PDF and messes everything up.
The solution, as I see it, since they have a touch screen is to implement something similar to ezPDF, which is my favourite PDF reader for Android. Just a double tap on a section, and it'll zoom exactly on the section of text you want to read. You don't have to fiddle with fixed zoom settings and clunky movement to try and fit the viewport to include the portion you want to see.
Of course, they probably aren't interested in doing this at all, since they'd be very happy if you only read books bought at their store.
PS. The Kindle DX is probably the best for PDFs, but its price and size are big downpoints.
The resolution of my 5'' is 640x480. The size definitely kills it for anything other than standard novels. If they came out with an 8inch version I would be all over it.
A very important feature of Kindle is to allow choosing font size. It make it an ideal tool for elders. But PDF documents have a fixed layout that won't allow resizing font conveniently, or you have to break it in pieces.
But, Amazon are probably more interested in selling their content, so I understand the lack of PDF support.
- It's cumbersome to do anything other than reading sequentially.
- The screen is still not big enough for letter/A4 pages - it does perform decent scaling, but you know how scrunched many technical papers are. Can go landscape and read half a page, which is a pain in two column layouts ...
- It's a tad heavy, almost like a hardcover textbook that needs to be held in both hands.
For graphical content, such as technical drawings/illustrations, wireframes or just B&W document proofs, the resolution and fidelity of an E-Ink Pearl screen combined with the true WYSIWYG nature of the PDF format across digital/print would be a dream come true for me...
They can keep selling the Kindle3 with keyboard for those who want it.
If more than one textbook is available for Kindle, it could actually be a net bonus.
I often end up holding the device in weird ways and accidentally push the paddle inadvertently.
Also random keys on the keyboard cause context switches too.
I'm going to be happy with a $79 or $99 kindle, as I only read on it, and never take notes or search.
* Will still sell current Kindle as "Kindle Keyboard" for same price.
* New non-touch Kindle is 2 ounces lighter than old Kindle, but has half the battery life.
* The new touch Kindle is 1 ounce lighter than old Kindle, with same battery life.
* Kindle Fire is 6-7 ounces lighter than an iPad 2.
* All the prices that were quoted are "with special offers" and the non-ad ones cost more.
Seems that E.U. Europeans get to pay VAT: "Your international shipment is subject to VAT. This is the same VAT rate you pay when you buy products in your country. There are NO customs duties or any other fees."
8 hours continuous reading or 7.5 hours video playback
8 hours doesn't seem like very much. Clearly its an LCD panel with back lighting and all that, but 8 hours seems a bit short.
They actually dropped it from $114 to $99.
On the one hand the predictive thing seems really cool and the techy in me is excited about the idea. On the other hand I'm really not a fan of a remote cache from a privacy perspective.
I don't think Amazon will track your browsing without your explicit approval, and I'd imagine it would be much easier to send each request as a stateless request to any of its EC2 instances.
> The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad, Amazon executives said in interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek.
Also, it's disingenuous. Of course a 7" "tablet" is cheaper than Apple's 10" tablet. Film at 11.
That being said, I'm very pleased to see this. I didn't think e-ink readers would be abandoned by Amazon but I didn't see them being a high priority either yet here we are with updated models (and me having just bought a Kindle like 2-3 months ago, grrr).
I'll have to look into it and see if the new ones are faster refresh (really the only thing I care about). If so I'll probably buy (another) one. What the hell. Although I'm not entirely convinced of the touch interface on an e-ink device. I guess we'll see.
Come to think of it, I might just buy one of the $199 tablets too. It's almost impulse territory too.
I do think Amazon could do really well with this. I imagine these will be popular holiday items. And like everyone has said, they are going to promote the hell out of these.
That all being said, I'm not giving up my iPad just yet. :)
It isn't obvious that the screen size is really the sticking point on price for tablets. The iPod touch retails for $229 and is much smaller than 7".
They are just comparing tablet products. If Apple had a 7" iPad and Amazon were comparing their prices to a 10" iPad, then it would be disingenuous. As it is, Apple only has a 10" tablet, so that is really the only comparison that can be made on price.
When someone walks into a Best Buy and tells a salesperson "I want to spend $600 on a TV" the standard practice is to show them what they get for $600 and then you show them what more you get if you spend just a bit extra. People often walk out of these stores spending more than intended.
By linking the Fire with the iPad, Amazon is (IMHO) making the same mistake. A consumer will look at the Fire and if the iPad is then on their mind they'll look at it and see what that extra gets them. Not everyone will buy an iPad but some will when they see it plays games, has a richer app experience, has a larger display and so on.
What Apple has mastered is aspirational purchasing. People want to own Apple products. The last thing you should do is remind your potential customers that your product is an inferior (albeit cheaper) version.
Amazon has done one thing right: they haven't created an iPad clone. Don't then lose that advantage by making comparisons.
See what's going to happen is in 6 months there'll quite likely be 9" and/or 10" Fires. They won't be $300 cheaper than the (then) iPad 3. This is where your earlier comparisons come back to haunt you.
The kindle fire can play games and has a rich app experience thanks to android. The only thing the ipad has going for it is the larger display. Time will tell if people care about that.
There are a few other key, and important differences other than screen size.
o IOS 4 (and soon 5) - Lots of pre-existing premium apps.
o 8 Gigabytes Flash vs 16 Gigabytes. (I was surprised to see no SD card capability on the Fire. That sucks. I have a 64 GB iPad, and the extra flash makes a difference on long trips when you are watching videos)
o Video/Camera capability on iPad
o 10 Hours Battery on iPad vs 8 Hours on Fire
Android has tons of premium apps too.
> 8 Gigabytes Flash vs 16 Gigabytes.
The Kindle stores everything in the cloud for free.
> Video/Camera capability on iPad
> 10 Hours Battery on iPad vs 8 Hours on Fire
I see everyone saying here that people don't care about features, they only care about the content, this is why previous Android tablets failed despite having more features than the iPad. Again, I think only time will tell.
> It's a nice first attempt, but for anyone with the extra money, I think the iPad still offers the better value play
But it's $300 more expensive, that's a huge difference for the regular customer. And as I explained, the difference in features isn't that perceivable for non-techies except for the size.
Kindle Fire is built off the Android 2.1 phone OS and lacks the speed improvements of 2.2 and 2.3, as well as the tablet interface elements added in 3.X. I would hesitate to call the compatible Apps in the Amazon Appstore "premium" for those reasons. Games will work comparably, but for anything else people there is distinct difference.
In the face of that, the only rational area to compete in is offering a functionally similar product at a much lower price. But instead of attacking from below and, as the OP said, making consumers question the price tag, Samsung chose to attack from above by matching specs and price point. Riskier move that has now spectacularly failed.
Samsung's sales figures beg to differ. In an extreme, extreme way.
And that's not even considering the patent mess that has killed the product in Europe.
I wouldn't be annoyed, the Kindle you have has a battery that lasts twice as long as the new Kindle, and it has a proper keyboard. The only plus for the new Kindle is it's a bit lighter.
This is my favorite feature of the kindle.
Before I used to read technical books in bed and I wasn't sure how much I was actually getting out of them. With the kindle I can make notes as I go and then review the notes later.
I find I'm retaining a whole lot more with the note taking ability of the kindle than I do by just reading a book in bed.
I've tried to use the iPad keyboard on the kindle app but it's just much slower.
I wouldn't give up the physical keyboard for anything.
I think that statement is more about positioning the Kindle Fire into a different market segment than trying to frame it as a competitor to the iPad. Bezos needs people to see this as something different, something you might potentially own as well as an iPad. For that to happen he needs to be able to say that it's not just cheaper, but radically cheaper. Personally I think it needs to get down to $149, but we'll see.
I'm not sure that Amazon told Bloomberg "The Kindle Fire will have a 7-inch display and sell for $199, compared with $499 for Apple’s cheapest iPad". I understood that as "Amazon told us it was $200, now we're going to make a reference to the iPad, because we just can't not."
- Small Kindle: $79
- Power Adapter: $10
- Cost in USA: $89 (free shipping)
Okay, so I see a banner that they ship to Europe. Excellent, I click it. Then I get a new banner, saying that my country qualifies for free shipping (pending some conditions). I go through the checkout process and I'm faced with the following list:
- Kindle + Adapter: $119
- Shipping: $27 (what happened to the free shipping banner you advertised with on the Kindle page AFTER I selected my country!?)
- Tax: 0
- Import duties: $28
- Grand total: $174
That's twice the amount you have to pay in the US. Really, Amazon? Can't you just tell me it's going to cost that much BEFORE I go through the entire checkout process?
Other good things for geeks like Google Voice, iPhone, etc only available, or available first during initial launch, makes me want to relocate to the US.
That being said, Amazon.com's product page is really a nightmare for non-US customers. You'll NEVER find a link to the product page for your country. They only show it AFTER you click checkout and proceed when warn you that it won't deliver to your address.
The UK store is selling this Kindle for £89.
Are you really that surprised that Amazon add $50 for shipping and import duties on this product? I don't think this particular case is an example of Amazon screwing the international market.
Not releasing the Fire or Touch on the international markets whatsoever is them screwing us ^.^
I expect the number on the site to roughly correspond to the amount I actually have to pay. I don't expect there to be nearly a $100 difference. That's a hostile sales tactic and I don't appreciate it.
After I select my country (on the kindle page itself) the price should immediately change to $109 (+$28 shipping + $28 duties). Then I wouldn't be complaining.
I think that's a reasonable request to make of Amazon.
Most of the time complaints like these are misdirected because the cost discrepancy is usually due to government restrictions and taxes. You don't think Amazon would want to sell and ship products worldwide at roughly the same prices?
- 20% VAT: £13.94
- Grand total: £83.65
- UK Amazon price: £89
I suppose 6.5% headroom is more than strictly necessary for exchange rate fluctuation. But I suppose you might as well round up to give the price a "9" on the end.
Items (2): $118.99
Shipping & Handling: $28.97
Total Before Tax: $147.96
Estimated Tax To Be Collected: $0.00
Import Fees Deposit $140.74
Order Total: $288.70
Obviously not Amazon's fault. We have absurd taxes here.
The cheapest Kindle is $255.57 with shipping and taxes. Now remember that the Brazilian Real is worth half a dollar, but has approximately the same buying power. In the end the cheapest Kindle costs 472 bucks here.
The monthly minimum wage is 545.
Your comparison is still apt, but the apples-to-apples comparator is $89 to $119 (I'd exclude shipping too - international shipping is harder to get nicer deals on than domestic shipping)
"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."
"System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer."
I own both a Kindle and an iPad and I flat out can not read books on the iPad. After about 30 minutes my eyes are strained and a headache is emerging. To me e-ink is not optional, but the killer feature.
The NC curently has what I think is a large advantage in that its easy to root via the microSD slot so it becomes a fully functioning Android tablet, including Android Market. The KF can provide Amazon media - for users, does this outweigh access to the Android market and native access to Google products? The NC still got nowhere near the appreciation from the public in its history that the Kindle Fire got in one day.
I'm curious as to what strategy Barnes & Noble takes with regards to NC in resposne to KF. A reliable source tells me that the NC is 85% owned by women and the targeted primary audience for its apps are 30+ women. There are few free apps because BN doesn't want to create an expectation of "everything should be free" (i.e. get users used to paying for value). The targeted audience also is one less opposed to paying for something nor have time to find free hacks (unlike young males). I don't think this market will be sufficient to keep the Kindle Fire from dominating at the $200 price point. Everyone, including not-yet-purchased-a-tablet 30+ women, will soon likely hear of the Kindle Fire and BN will lose much of its small core audience.
Given the $200 price point, I think that there may be an oppotunity for BN to make a large mainstream splash if it allows greater flexibility in the NC (including fully integrating Android Market). Otherwise, I don't see how it competes with Amazon because of "coolness" perceptions of the two companies. In that respect, Amazon competes with Apple; while BN competes with Borders (RIP).
Good point. It might not have been possible before, but it might just be that Google will feel threatened enough by the Fire to want to help out a competitor and let them officially use the Google apps. It would certainly make it a no brainer for me. Of course, it might be a dumb decision for BN (Android Market => install Kindle App => no need to buy books from BN any more)
Amazon is doing the right thing, which wouldn't be that surprising except that every other Android vendor has done the wrong thing. Amazon is presenting a unified, controlled environment to users (which most of them want), provides both content and app delivery services, and is selling tablets cheap enough to as not to compete directly with Apple. It will do well.
a) Amazon rep. unofficially approves a "leaky" article just before the press conference.
b) Bloomberg journalist guarantees a front page story on their web page.
c) Amazon reaps the benefits of more coverage
You are forgetting that Amazon Press Conferences, without these advance buzz giving messages would not be even 10% of what Apple conferences are. Now they get at least a half of that.
Everybody in America is waking up. Everybody in Europe is bored at work. Everybody in Asia is enjoying their evening.
I don't know, is touchable e-ink coming in near future? Then they could have waited for that, and improve a lot Kindle OS (allow for plugins, real browsing, epub, viable pdf, email, etc) meanwhile.
It certainly has less drive space than older iPods, but I have yet to fill up my iPhone. I understand using the old iPod as a portable hard drive, but storing your entire music collection on it never made sense to me - which is why I gladly traded the smaller drive space for the better interface.
I think the Touch and iPhone are more than adequate for the task, but they're not quite as good as the pure iPods, and that functionality is completely eclipsed by their other capabilities. I haven't used an iPod since getting an iPhone either, but that's just because it suffices, not because it's equally good.
Audio quality was not. iPods never supported Ogg Vorbis or FLAC, for example.
Ultimately, some ppl like reading white-on-black text on LCDs at night instead of e-ink. LCDs aren't better or worse, they're just different. Matter of preference.
FLAC was a licensing problem -- when Apple wanted to add lossless, they did so, with a clean-room lossless compressed audio codec.
I have played with a RIM Playbook once and the size factor was the same concern. Seems like under 9-10" it can't be a replacement for my laptop in any situation and it feels more like a toy.
(Disclaimer : I own an iPad)
There's also all kinds of reasons to promote the Fire in hands of children. Unlike regular geeky gadgets, Amazon is targeting women just as much as men, and you can market to mothers via their children. Plus, if you can get your products into the hands of children, you are establishing an entire generation of future customers. That's why Microsoft et al cut students and Universities such massive discounts on software and hardware.
Full-color children's books is also a distinguishing selling point for upgrading over the black-and-white Kindle.
I thought what you were trying to argue was "Your tablet can never be a replacement for your laptop. Period."
The idea was ridiculous, but the thought experiment was fun. Still, hardware costs are not trivial. There's no way Amazon gives something away for free (with 10 ebook purchases) just yet.
Everything the EC2 backend does, like recompressing images, pre-rendering pages, resolving DNS records, etc, would require man-in-the-middle interception and decryption of TLS/SSL connections. Not good. I hope they leave HTTPS connections untouched.
That said, for plain HTTP traffic, if they can manage to significantly reduce page loading times, well done. I would prefer to see the fundamental problem resolved of course (lower latency on wireless networks), instead of relying on a complex back-end which will no doubt have issues of its own (availability, bugs, etc).
I find the smaller E-ink screens a great fit for comfortable reading of fiction, or non-fiction prose like biography or history, where one doesn't need to skip around much, and the font size adjustment may come in handy.
Note that my experience is on a 2010 vintage DX with no WiFi - it is limited to 3G on Amazon's dime. In Europe that's only Wikipedia and the Amazon store.
The Android Market would be the big loss here. Amazon seems to take more control over the selling of your product than you do once you submit to their Appstore, but if you want to show up on their tablets, you won't have a choice.
(also in that PDF, a figure that shows the bottom side with micro USB socket and power switch, which was what I was looking for)
However, so far, I've really only found tablets useful for content consumption. The Kindle Fire makes the bold (and I think right) choice to optimize for consumption. I suspect its smaller form factor will appeal to how more people will actually use these things. Similarly, I don't think people really want high-quality cameras or video on their tablets.
The Kindle Fire is exactly the right product for Amazon to release (given their strengths), and I suspect it might be match the needs of a larger group of people than the iPad.
However, content production in tablets will surely improve over time and I don't think iPad/Windows 8/Android are misguided. I'm just betting that Amazon latched on to a real hole in the market that can be profitable right now.
Other Android manufacturers are probably going to start competing with Amazon's offer as well, lowering prices and cutting corners in the process.
Two random examples:
The word Android was barely mentioned on Amazon site.
On device itself, the web and content to be consumed is showed Amazon.com but not thru Google search.
EDIT: Why is this comment downvoted? I'm kinda new on this hacker news and I'm under impression if I express opinion with a couple of examples supporting it that is not trolling... What kind of comment should be made to point out that it seems like Google will have zero benefits and even hurt it from this Android tablet?
Yes Google does not directly benefit from the android fork amazon created but i think it is also a quite good and interesting example of the often called openness and freedom of Android. It is quite refreshing to see a big company using Android as the base and modifying it completely to their needs.
For example, last week a Lenovo executive claimed that Samsung's Galaxy Tab sales were far lower than what Samsung vaguely stated: 20,000 actual sales, rather than two million (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392422,00.asp#fbid=EJq...).
Amazon has painted over the rough surfaces of Google’s Android operating system
Now I won't even consider buying it until the cyanogenmod port is in decent shape. Why do manufactures always do this to android? The custom UI looks nicer (arguable, roll with it), but always kill usability because they don't understand how to have their software play nice and feel right on android. It might be better on the kindle fire because the biggest offenders I see are the dialer and text message app, but I won't hold my breath.
But its still a layer ontop of Android.
The new Kindle tablet may be sort-of compatible with Android today, but this isn't likely to remain the case since there is no feedback loop or collaboration between Google and Amazon in this.
But whatever. Amazon isn't just putting their own UI over Android like Samsung and HTC are doing. They're forking it.
NB. I don't support lock downs or anything like that, of course. my point is that there's nothing wrong with them customizing and branching it off into something else. isn't that the whole point?
That said, Amazon have a solid reputation so I don't think any of that applies in this particular case.
but the counter is that debian is really cool, but the ubuntu branch is a home run. so in conclusion… I dont know. but new is better than stagnate.
As I've seen it, the users they aren't afraid of change and are upset by the fact they're experimenting, the objections seem to be centered around not having the option to go back when they don't like it. And that the experimentation is often disliked in the first place because they're not less genuinely UX driven experiments, they're more of an attempt at uniqueness for the sake of branding.
The other manufacturers sell "Android" devices, and when it doesn't work, they point fingers in all directions.
I've always had a lot of respect for Bezos and what he's done but this lowers my opinion of him. Not only is it a petty cheap shot, it's not even true (so does he not know somehow, or is he lying?). Most tablet makers were having a hard time competing with the iPad on price. It's incredibly cheap for what it does.