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Kindle Fire pre-orders exceeding 2,000 per hour (geek.com)
161 points by ukdm on Oct 4, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 81 comments

I find it pretty obnoxious that someone leaked this. This is classic "ruining it for everyone".

That app, when I worked at Amazon, was open to any employee. It would totally suck if they had to restrict access because of some idiot. I always thought it was pretty awesome that I could randomly query all sorts of data at Amazon.

If they're selling a Kindle at the rate of almost one a second, then the stock levels should act as a timestamp. I wonder if Amazon log employee access to report pages.

this doesn't seem like the sort of leak that anybody is going to be too angry about.

Considering how tight-lipped Amazon is about everything (including the fact that they've never divulged the number of Kindles sold) I'd imagine Jeff Bezos and Tom Szkutak might be less than happy.

Possibly they should be, this time, as the leaker has just given me (and every other Android developer) 2.5 million very good reasons to bother putting my app into the Amazon App store.

I applied for the Kindle Development Kit weeks ago and have yet to hear back.

Good luck.

That's the Kindle development thing. It seems to be a black hole. Perhaps because it's based on some kind of bastardized J2ME tech, from what I understand, whereas the Fire is just Android, so you probably won't need that much special stuff to develop for it.

The cynic's money is on this "leak" being a PR stunt.

Perhaps. But don't you think they can put out a press release that would be covered by every major newspaper, online and offline? Or Bezos could give an interview with the WSJ, NYT, or anyone he chooses. Why would they leak it CultofAndroid.com, a second or third tier niche tech blog?

> Why would they leak it CultofAndroid.com, a second or third tier niche tech blog?

I can't really answer that, but this article is currently #2 here. Can't argue with results, right?

I've never really known Amazon to be prone to that sort of thing

I usually don't go for the conspiracy theory. But my first thought after reading the stuff about the Fire was that I should probably get in my order for a second one soon if I want it to show up before the holidays.

Although leaking the other Kindle data doesn't seem as convenient.

The math on this article (taking pre-order rate from the first few days of availability and extending it to the ship date) is silly, as much as I'm an Amazon and Kindle fan. Journalists need to stick to reporting the facts and not making silly projections of the future based on questionable math.

It's similarly ridiculous to expect that orders will "ramp up" as the launch date gets closer. The closer you get to the release date, the less incentive there is to pre-order (because you will be way back in the line anyway) and the more incentive there is to wait a little longer and see the early reviews / user reports. I may be wrong about that but it's not like the reporter provides any support for the assertion that orders will climb as the release date gets close.

It is entirely possible there will be a "hump" in orders though. There was no build-up to the Fire, so plenty of potentially interested consumers probably hadn't even heard of the Fire until a while after pre-orders started.

Given that the NYT and most major media outlets (including TV programs) covered the Fire the day it came out, you'd have to be living in a pretty deep hole (at least in the US) to have not heard about the release. Google News shows about 6,000 publications covering the release.

It seems unlikely they'll get even 10% of that much attention again before the ship date.

People have to get it out of their heads that Amazon believes it will make serious coin on selling the devices.

The estimates of how much the Fire cost to make are hugely speculative and do not account for a bunch of other Amazon's costs, such as affiliates marketing. The pricing at $199 means Amazon's goal is to drive volume. The pricing of the $79 standard Kindle means Amazon's goal is to drive EVEN MORE VOLUME. The pricing of $0 for the Kindle reader on the PC, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and browser means Amazon's goal is to drive EVEN MORE VOLUME.

Why? Because they monitize by selling content via their cloud service and by delivering an end-to-end consumer experience across MULTIPLE devices.

Stop focusing on the shiny device. I know it's pretty and you can touch it, but the value proposition has shifted. Devices no longer matter (in relative terms). What matters is how an experience can be delivered ACROSS these entities:

    experience = people + devices + services

I don't know. It seemed to me that everyone was pretty aware of the fact that their not trying to profit on the hardware and that selling content was the main goal.

Even when they released the original Kindle, selling ebooks was clearly the main focus and that turned out quite well for them.

The story is still relevant in that people are buying them at a rapid rate.

Not people, but you need to understand that many of us already know this. The point is that the devices are selling. And people will buy content for it. Selling the devices is the first step and that is all this article is saying.

Considering that Apple says they barely break even on their content sales (i.e., iTunes/AppStore), I think the strategy is more about staking ground in the tablet space.

Kindle Fire is establishing beachhead for it's bigger 10" sibling who will arrive next year... Fire competes and compares favorably against iPod Touch and not iPad. Next year we'll see a real iPad competitor from Amazon.

Shhh don' tell Apple that who still makes most of their profit from shiny devices. They also sell content, but it's not the biggest slice of their pie. They may be the lone exception, but a large one at that.

I'd say Amazon's the exception, not Apple. HTC, Nokia, Samsung, etc. aren't making money on content.

What surprises me about this is the reaction to the leak.

If the leak were about Apple, there's a vocal group that would be defending the leakers as doing the right thing, like they did something moral, and decrying Apple's efforts to keep things secret.

With Google, again there seems to be some sense of entitlement to internal Google emails, products and decisions, although the detractors aren't quite as fervent as they are in Google's case.

But Amazon? For some reason everyone seems to be all over whoever leaked this screenshot of an internal tool.

Why the double standard?

As for the numbers themselves, they look positive but not mind-blowing. This probably translates to selling 1M+ at launch, which is a good, solid start. I own an iPad 2 and am tempted to get one of these anyway, just as an impulse buy.

Different audiences. It's the standard they would hold themselves to.

That sounds about right. I don't want to lose access to these great tools. I don't want the lockdown trend to continue here. I don't want it to be more difficult to make sure my corner of the retail site works well with Silk if I can no longer browse through its source code.

Well if it was sustained it would be 2k / hour = 48k / day = ~1.4 million a month which is a little below the iPad but no that far. However, most likely it's an early peak which is far less impressive. Edit: For comparison iPad sold ~2million a month for 12 months.


> If Amazon really is making $50 per Kindle Fire sale that translates to $125 million in revenue on day one

The author doesn't know what revenue really means. Revenue is the total cash taken, not the cash left after paying the manufacturers. He means gross margins, although the 25% GM is dubious.

And where did the author get the "making $50 per Kindle Fire sale" number? From what I've read, each Fire costs Amazon about $192 for parts plus $18 for manufacturing:


Did you not read the article? The author provides a link. Here's another one: http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4228505/Kindle-Fire-...

p.s. Why do HN readers keep quoting iSuppli as though it's a trusted source? http://daringfireball.net/2007/07/isuppli http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/02/10/isuppli

It really irks me to see leaked screenshots of internal tools.

On the other hand, this "leak" is very good news for Amazon, right before a major day for Apple. The tech journalists will have to cover the Amazon story, thereby eating into their Apple coverage.

That is a bit too convenient.

I would not be surprised if every employee that did this query recently is getting a nice chat from corporate security.

You're assuming that the interface audits access.

The vast majority of the internal tools I've seen have not audited, they are utilities that are built for a specific purpose and it's not anticipated that someone would leak information out of it.

To me, that looks a bit like a SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) report. If so, unless they've gone to great lengths to audit access... it isn't audited and the web server logs aren't going to help.

I'm with enneff on it irking. But at the same time, I would rather occasional disrespectful leaks like this than locked down environments that would prevent whistleblowers exposing the really bad stuff that happens (not in reference to AMZN, just in general).

That's why it irks me personally, not because I care about this data, but because it's irresponsible and disrespectful and helps to bring in the kind of culture that makes it harder for the whistleblowers to operate in when it comes to things that should be leaked.

I've probably phrased the last part of this post appallingly.

> "You're assuming that the interface audits access."

Former Amazonian here - Amazon's internal tools are not part of the vast majority, I'll tell you that much. I have no insider information, but it would not surprise me at all if whoever leaked this got a nice chat today.

It doesn't have to be some elaborate audit functionality. Every reasonable internal application has to have access control and at least some basic logging in place. Based just on that you can already infer a lot.

Isn't that why you walk over to someone's random unlocked workstation and take the screenshot from there?

This is about how many iPads Apple sells, just at a much lower price point. I imagine these numbers are going to grow rapidly once people actually see the hardware. The market isn't even close to tapped.

It's also worth remembering that the Kindle Fire's firmware is based off of Android 2.1. There are some major performance improvements in 2.2 and 2.3 (JITing, better kernel memory management, concurrent garbage collection, etc.) amongst a lot of other improvements. It seems likely that Amazon will refresh the firmware for the Fire in a few months, that will only increase sales.

As far as the market overall, it's effectively untapped at this point. Long term, tablets are going to be the dominant personal computing device. That's a market of, say, 1-2 billion tablets within the next 10 years. Definitely not tapped.

Most articles I've seen post-unveiling say the launch firmware will be (based on) 2.3. The bit about it running 2.1 is leftover from the rumor mill (which isn't surprising, odds are 2.1 was just out when they started the project). I'm more curious to see if Amazon will keep in sync with ICS (presuming Google makes good on their word to open the source) or give Android a proper total forking.

On the subject of total forking, I noticed an interesting tidbit today:

(a) the Amazon Appstore's guidelines say Android 1.6 and up is supported (with no other qualifications) (b) they have Honeycomb apps in the Appstore

That's a small suggestion that they're looking to keep Android compatibility going forward (otherwise why let in apps that can't run on the Kindle Fire today?). Perhaps they were just trying to not tip their hand, but restricting things to Gingerbread and below doesn't sound that unusual to me.

Ah, well then! All the more reason to buy it on day one.

As far as I know, there hasn't been any definite information on the difference between the Kindle stack and the Android 2.1 stack. I would be very surprised if Amazon hasn't done some downstream merging or porting of the features you mentioned, or been working on similar speed and performance improvements on their own. At this point, Amazon knows that they need a fast, performant tablet in order to do well in the market. Historically speaking, they know that moving first (into the non-premium tablet market) will not guarantee success. Quality does.

In regards to the tablet market, I'm not sure about 1-2 billion tablet customers. That's 1-2 out of every seven people owning a tablet, which is probably not realistic. I can see an easy 500 million customer in 5 years, which is a very conservative estimate. Whether the trend will continue past 1 billion, though, isn't really predictable right now. If tablet do end up becoming the computers for non-techies, though, then your prediction will probably hold, though it may be more like 15 years.

The Kindle Fire supports VP8 out-of-the-box. Native Android support for VP8 didn't arrive until Gingerbread (2.3.3, to be exact). Even without official confirmation this is a pretty significant tell that the Kindle Fire is Gingerbread-based.

Has anyone actually held one in their hands and made a decent video review of it?

This is the only one I've seen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-oUrzy0Lvw

I cannot understand the irrational hatred I feel when someone says 'click' when talking about interaction with a touchscreen.

Where's the click Mr. Peter Demo Man?

Tap dancers probably also hate the word "tap" being so blatantly misused ;)

But I equally hate "tap" and "touch".


Kindle Fire video demo broken down by subject : http://www.mydiamarks.com/mydiamark/Amazon+Kindle+Fire+demo_... enjoy

I don't believe so.

I wonder if those orders include stores ordering for their inventory.

Do stores (other than Amazon of course..) sell Kindles?


A quick search confirms Best Buy list them for instore sale only: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=pcat17071&typ...

I believe others are getting them too. Can't recall exactly where I read it.

I doubt that the figures are included in the leaked report, as that speaks of fulfilment centers, which I would understand to be customer fulfilment centers. They're more likely to get X boxes shipped to Best Buy (and whoever) direct from manufacturer to avoid additional shipping costs.

Best Buy certainly does. I believe they are also available at Target.

I would expect them to receive shipments directly from the manufacturer, not via amazon retail warehouses...

I believe Staples and/or Office Max also sell Kindles, although I don't know about the newest models.

Here is a heatmap I made of Kindle Fire sales by warehouse: http://yfrog.com/z/kj34txp

I got one, and the only thing I'm worried about is that the touchscreen might be lame like the Nook Color's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiHH6mdH0WU

I don't have any reason to believe it is, except that I heard it was the same manufacturer. Is that correct?

That page is an unmitigated disaster on a mobile device. Round fill-ins to obstruct my fairly small screen, weird auto-snap to ensure I can't get a look at the content I want.

I think this has inspired me to start a wall of shame for mobile device sites!

Resale of these is going to be crazy. Pick one up on the flipside for $100 after xmas.

  Bluetooth? No
  HDMI? No
  Camera? No
  Microphone? No
  micro/SD slot? No
  GPS? No
  3G? No
  Android Market? No (only Amazon Market)

To repeat history: No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

It's good for CmdrTacoMalda that he's too busy trying to get his site back up after its current HNing. Otherwise, he'd probably have time to read and be annoyed again by this comment. ;)

Consumers are starting to lose themselves in unecessary features. Do you really need any of this to use the Kindle Fire for what it was meant for -- a cheap portable book/game/movie viewer?

To each his own, but I bought the new Kindle for this reason. I own a Kindle Keyboard, but it was just too much -- I just wanted a barebones reader. Even the touch, IMO, is overkill -- who really needs to "touch" what is supposed to be a book? So I picked up the $79 Kindle and was very happy. It's really thin, great aesthetics, and has all the barebone features I need to do one job really well.

if people are buying it as a cheap portable book/game/movie player, then yeah those features are unnecessary. but from everything i've heard, the primary thing driving returns on android tablets so far isn't that people dislike it, it's that people expect more than it is. some overeager salesperson or fanboy tells people that an android tablet can replace your computer, people get annoyed that it's just a tablet.

if amazon is successfully managing expectations for this product, it has plenty of features. if the fanboys get out of control and oversell it, then it is sorely lacking.

One of the reasons people "expect more than it is" is that it's hard for an average consumer to get an Android tablet to do anything out of the box.

A Kindle Fire, by contrast, puts media front and center right away, and will surely make the store as easily accessible as it is on the e-ink Kindles. It's a Kindle, so right off the bat, you can read books. You get a free trial of Prime, so right off the bat, you can watch video.

Presumably they will make it easy to understand the process for getting your music into the Amazon cloud (or copied on to the device), and I'm sure it won't be too hard to go get hooked up with a copy of Angry Birds, or whatever other games and starter apps they're pushing. And as long as Amazon has a credit card on file for you (pretty likely if you're buying an Amazon tablet), purchasing whatever it is you want will be ridiculously simple, just like on the Kindle.

It should be a fairly batteries-included experience for the vast majority of users right out of the box.

Does it have a good browser? Can it access Gmail, YouTube and Facebook? In that case 90% of people will be happy with it. I know I would be, if I could buy it in the UK.

Amazon probably did market research to determine what people would really want. When I read your list of things the Fire doesn't have, I realized I wouldn't miss any of them.

If it's missing an SD card slot, I'd miss that. 8GB isn't that much space when you're talking video.

That said, $200 is getting dangerously near the comfort zone for a device purely bought with the intention of using it around the house (where WiFi negates the need for large onboard storage).

I thought you didn't need to keep all your videos on your device. You could archive and re-download whenever you wanted much like the Kindle app on iOS?

Free cloud helps (although I think that only applies to stuff you've gotten through Amazon), but even if just for the airplane use case, it'd be nice to have the option to carry a bandolier of sd cards.

I have seen this feature "chart" pasted into HN posts before. Didn't folks slam the original iPhone the same way?

Not to say that the Fire is a guaranteed hit, but I think that as a consumption device aimed at consumers it needs very little of those features.

The iphone and the ipod before it..

Remember all of the stuff that the iPhone lacked when it launched? No 3G. No copy/paste. No third party apps. No Flash. No carrier choice. No removable battery. No OTA syncing. No Exchange. 2 MP camera. No front camera. Watered down Bluetooth. Amazon isn't Apple (yet?), but the focus on experience and not features is what's going to make or break Kindle in the long run.

Bonus: the original iPhone was $600 (later $400) /on contract/, and it still sold like hotcakes. This is a $200 tablet with no carrier allegiance required.

You forgot to mention that the price is $200 under what most tablets cost. This is just the first iteration, but I fully expect the Amazon market to become relevant as a result of this device's popularity.

You forgot 4G LTE. The Xoom has all of those features and because of it, it is flying off the shelves -- err, no, wait a second.

Nilay Patal had a great quote about the Fire v iPad. He said the Fire actually competes with the iPad not because it does more, but because it does less.

90% of my use case for one of these would be on a train or a bus. No reception for 3G or GPS, no use for a camera/microphone/HDMI/card slots. Blue tooth might be handy if I had blue tooth headphones, which I don't.

Selling 100,000 in a day: Yes

Its not a feature war :) I couldn't give a flip about everything you just mentioned. Here's the real test:

Great product: yes

That is all that matters.

Bluetooth?  -- Don't need it. Only accessory I would use is bluetooth headphones, and wired is good enough.

HDMI? -- Don't need it, why would I hook my tablet to my TV?

Camera? -- Don't need it, I have a camera and a cell phone.

Microphone? -- Why would I need a microphone on a tablet?

micro/SD slot? -- Don't need it, my content is stored on Amazon's servers. It has enough physical space for content when I'm on the go.

GPS? -- Don't need it, I'm not using this for maps on the go. That's what my cell phone is for.

3G? -- One valid point.

Android Market? -- The most valid point, but not a deal-breaker.

Lists like these are almost always ignorant of typical use cases. That's partly why Apple does so well -- they engineer for the typical use, even if it excludes power users.

I think your last point is interesting as I view that as a clear positive from a user experience point of view.

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