The holiday season is just around the corner. If you go by when retailers start pulling out Christmas decorations, it began a couple months ago. And if you are unlike me at all, who waits until Christmas Eve to do his gift shopping, you're likely already on the prowl for some good deals and snatching up popular, must-have gifts before the masses wipe out the shelves. I'm sure no one wants to duke it out with the Schwarzenegger for a Turbo Man doll, or worse ... an iPad.
Unlike a few years ago, mobile technology has finally found its place in the most profitable retail campaign of the year. Smartphones and tablets are at the top of most tech lovers' Christmas lists, and it's up to you to pick out the right one. Or, if you're the one wishing for a tablet or phone, it's up to you to make it very clear to the person buying which specific device you want.
Last year, the Apple iPad was easily one of the most coveted gifts. And this year will undoubtedly be much of the same. But Apple has some competition this go around. Android tablets have begun popping up left and right. To date, Android tablets have not been able to take a substantial chunk – at least in comparison to Android's domination in the smartphone market – out of Apple's tablet market or mind share. As things currently stand, not much will change with your run-of-the-mill Android slabs.
There is, however, one device that is releasing just in time for the holidays which many believe may cause some turbulence for Apple. Amazon announced the Kindle Fire at the end of September and faced unexpected interest. Pre-orders were immediately available via Amazon's website and the e-commerce company claims they will have to manufacture "millions more" than originally planned to keep with demand.
Although it isn't being marketed as an Android tablet, the Kindle Fire is without question a tablet powered by the little green robot. Apple remains unmoved by Amazon's attempt at the tablet world. But truth is, this is the first tablet to viably cause any concern for Apple, to threaten to encroach on their major chunk of the tablet market share pie.
Retrevo, a popular electronics review and shopping site, performed a study around the two tablets and revealed both interesting and surprising information on the matter. Participants in the study were asked, "Would you consider buying the recently announced, 7" Android tablet made by Amazon at $199 instead of a 9.7" iPad 2 this holiday season?" Of those interested in buying a tablet, 44 percent responded with "Yes." Only 12 percent answered that they were only interested in an iPad, and the remaining 44 percent responded, "I don't know enough about the Amazon tablet."
The 44 percent alone who show interest in the Kindle Fire should serve as a testament to the impact that Amazon could make. The other 44 percent who not know enough about the "Amazon tablet" might feel differently or might know more about it if Amazon had approached the marketing of the Kindle Fire from a different angle. Building off of the popular eReader brand, Kindle, the Kindle Fire is likely to be mistaken for an eReader by non-tech savvy holiday shoppers. Retrevo found that 35 percent of participants in the study thought the Kindle Fire was an eReader, 32 percent had no idea what it was and one percent of repondents' answers fell under "something else." Only 32 percent of participants in the study actually knew that the Kindle Fire was actually a tablet.
Nonetheless, the low price of the Kindle Fire should still bring in curious shoppers. And many of those in the market for a tablet this holiday season will quickly find themselves being pointed in the direction of the Fire. A starting price tag of $199 looks much better than $499, no? Not only that, but the Kindle Fire will hit shelves just in time for Black Friday. The iPad 2, on the other hand, will be approaching nine-months-old come December. It seems like Amazon has their timing down and the stars are aligning. It may just be an Amazon holiday this year.
So, what will people be picking up this holiday season?
Personally, I have a feeling it will be almost an even split. There is a good deal of consumers who have yet to and may never learn of the Kindle Fire. Of those people, many of those who do learn what it is will inevitably stick with Apple for the ecosystem, the apps or a plethora of other possible answers. People who were on the fence about tablets and didn't pick up a TouchPad now have a much more affordable option. Not only that, but there's the argument of screen size – a 9.7 or 10-inch tablet may be too big and bulky for some while 7-inches may be too small for others.
Being a tablet lover, it was essentially impossible for me to pass up a deal for a $200 tablet. I pre-ordered my Kindle Fire just minutes after the announcements without hesitation. Not only that, but if stock levels will allow, I'm looking to pick a few Kindle Fire tablets up for some family members as gifts. That said, the Kindle Fire will only be my lounging device. I plan on picking up a Transformer Prime as a daily driver.
If any, what tablet will you be buying for your loved ones this holiday season? Will it be the smaller, cheaper Amazon Kindle Fire? Or will you stick with what has been around for a while and buy a premium priced, 9.7-inch iPad 2? If neither, which tablet will you buy? The Transformer Prime? A Galaxy Tab?
Image via Huffington Post