So now that the Amazon Kindle Fire is the real thing, and people are still talking about it around the Internet, it’s time we take a swing at it, together. Let’s start a discussion about the tablet, because that’s what we all do best, right? Discuss. And, to be fair, I think the Amazon Kindle Fire does, indeed, deserve plenty of discussion. As it stands right now, I’m looking back at that article I wrote a few weeks ago, talking about how the Kindle tablet should be embraced, especially due to its heavily customized version of Android, and not tossed to the side. But, now that the thing is real, and I’ve seen how it compares to the competition, I’m wondering one thing above all else: should Amazon have launched a 10-inch version, instead?
For those of you who missed the news yesterday, Amazon announced a plethora of new devices. While the main takeaway is centered on their lucrative eReader business, plenty of attention was given to the company’s first tablet device. Now forever known as the Amazon Kindle Fire (I’ll get to the name in a moment), the tablet is no slouch when it comes to stats, even if it does look pretty familiar. Specifically, as you can see from the image above, the Kindle Fire does look like the BlackBerry PlayBook. There’s just no getting around it. Unfortunately, the similarities don’t end there.
Also similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook is the processor under the hood. Amazon decided with the TI OMAP 1GHz dual-core to power its tablet. There’s no denying that the processor has more than enough power to keep up with the Kindle Fire, especially considering how good of a job it does with the aesthetically-centered QNX Software on the PlayBook. So, now that we’re done comparing the PlayBook and Kindle Fire, let’s talk about other stats. The tablet will be running a ridiculously-modified version of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread, so not the tablet-centric mobile OS from Google), feature WiFi-connectivity, and weigh in at only 14.6 ounces. Sounds great, right?
Well, sure. At this point finding a tablet that doesn’t boast some awesome features is pretty hard, when slogging through the market. (Yes, they are out there.) But, does the market really need another 7-inch tablet that may or may not possibly be centered more as an eReader, rather than a tablet? Obviously Amazon wants you to think this thing is a tablet, much like Barnes and Noble wants you to (maybe, kind of) think that the NOOK Color is (or could be) a tablet. But, the main difference is that the Kindle Fire is built like a tablet, like the PlayBook is built like a tablet, and that’s where the focus will be.
But, I think Amazon should have launched a 10-inch version. Or even a 9.7-inch version. I think the 7-inch market isn’t necessarily pointless, but I’ve had several conversations with folks who think the 7-inch tablet market isn’t necessary, because that’s too small for a tablet. It isn’t too small for, say, an eReader, though. And, while I’ve heard whispers that Amazon is indeed working on a 10-inch version of the Kindle Fire (there were plenty of rumors before the launch, but I’m talking about after the launch – Amazon just said, “Stay tuned” when it came to more news about a bigger tablet), I think they should have at least announced it with the smaller version.
Amazon is a digital retailer that focuses on choice, of having plenty of options. And, while they’ve got other Kindle devices out there right now, the Kindle Fire looks to be trying to carve its own niche in the Amazon ecosystem, while still trying to utilize the success of its lineage and name. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. And, considering the Kindle Fire is already at the top of Amazon’s Top Seller list, it’s obviously working. The momentum for the device is remarkable. Having a focus on options, I think Amazon could have seen a pretty remarkable boost in purchases, even more than they are already getting, if they would have launched a 10-inch version of the tablet, too.
One last thing. I think Amazon should have just named the tablet the Amazon Fire. In truth, I think the Kindle name is great, and I think that it’s a name that the company could have used to market its other products, in a very different way. The Kindle was a way to start . . . the Fire. (No, I’m not saying that they should use that as a market attempt, because that would be terrible.) But, do you see where I’m going with this? First, there was the Kindle, and then the Fire. If the company did launch a larger version of the tablet, they could call it something like the Blaze or something in that vein. I don’t know, just a thought.