Entry level and/or low-cost tablets are beginning to burn bright in the market place, and none more intense than Amazon's Kindle Fire, currently the second best selling tablet on the planet behind Apple's iPad. Call it a glorified eBook reader if you want, the thing is selling well no matter which category it gets squeezed into, and though the competition is ramping up efforts to compete in the same category, Amazon isn't sitting idly by. On the contrary, there's talk of a Kindle Fire 2 device shipping in July.
One of the complaints some people have with Amazon's Kindle Fire device is that it's only 7 inches. Sure, it's relatively affordable in the land of tablets (or glorified eBook readers, if you prefer to call it that), but certainly a larger screen size would put additional competitive heat on Apple's iPad, the only tablet line that sells better than the Fire. Well, it looks as though a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire is nearing release.
Your friendly neighborhood Target store is getting ready to give Amazon a brick-and-mortar sized wedgie as it tosses the e-tailer's entire Kindle line right out of its stores. Even Amazon's Kindle Fire, Target's top selling tablet device on Black Friday last year, will be extinguished from Target's chain of stores, and it appears it's all due to a conflict of interest with Barnes & Noble and its Nook line.
Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet costs $249 while Amazon's Kindle Fire sells for $199. There are other differences between these two competing 7-inch tablets, of course, but for many consumers, the only one that matters is the $50 price discrepancy. In the eyes of the average shopper, both of these slates are capable of doing the same thing, so why pay 25 percent more for the Nook Tablet? Tech savvy users can answer that question by running their fingers down the spec sheets, but at the end of the day, Amazon's Kindle Fire, now the second most popular tablet in the world behind the mighty iPad, is the one people are buying. If the Nook Tablet was also priced at $199, would that still be the case?
Amazon is too busy raking in all that Kindle cash to offer any clues about a larger successor to the Kindle Fire, but most industry watchers are convinced that such a device is coming. Following a DigiTimes report in December, Pacific Crest analysts have raised sales expectations for Amazon in expectation of a 9-inch Fire successor this summer.
Amazon today announced financial results for the last quarter of 2011, reporting a 58-percent decline in net income year over year and a lower-than-expected increase in net sales. This despite the fact that its Kindle devices, including the Fire, sold really well in this period. Hit the jump for more.
One of the biggest complaints against Amazon's Kindle Fire device is you can't download apps directly from Google's Android Market unless you root it. You can also sideload apps onto the Fire, but by and large, the average user isn't savvy enough to venture away from Android's own App Store. Even so, Kindle Fire users are proving they're just as capable of consuming Android apps as anyone else, perhaps more so.
When Amazon announced that the Kindle Fire would launch below $200, the audience literally erupted in applause. Getting that first number down to a one, even if only by a penny, has important psychological consequences on consumer behavior. Even more surprising were the analyst reports that circulated around the same time suggesting Amazon was paying around $210 to build each unit. Taking a $10 loss might not sound like much for a company with such deep pockets, but multiply that by millions of devices sold and its one heck of a risky move.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Apple's working on a smaller version of the iPad (insert iPod touch jokes here) to compete with Amazon's lower cost Kindle Fire device, but maybe we've been led astray. Maybe Apple has no intentions of releasing a 7-inch iPad -- Steve Jobs always scoffed at the idea anyway -- and perhaps it's Google, not Apple, who will ultimately fight Fire with, well, something.
Amazon is usually light on details when discussing Kindle sales, but this time we’ve been granted a bit more data on the holiday season. According to Amazon, the online retailer moved 4 million Kindle devices in the month of December. Additionally, eBook gifting shot up 175%. After all, you can’t give a Kindle without including a few books.