Friday, November 4, 2011
Kindle Tablet: Firing Up A Retail Engine
Everyone's excited about Amazon's launch of the Kindle Tablet tomorrow in New York, allegedly to be called the Kindle Fire. It will be an Android-based tablet -- another nudge in the ribs to Apple's iPad and a slight cozying-up to Google. There are all these variables that may help or hinder it from succeeding -- price, apps, hardware considerations, competitors -- but I think there is one big differentiator that makes the other factors unimportant.
I need to go back -- not too far back, but back to the day I got my iPad 2 last spring and the literal moment I started it up and registered it and learned how to use it.
I remember starting up other brand new computers -- both Windows and Apple -- over the years and the basic first steps always had you launching the operating system and connecting with a website. With Windows, you went through a bunch of Microsoft set-up screens and registered with a bunch of www.microsoft.com pages. With MacBook, off to www.apple.com you went.
With the iPad, you started with the iTunes site.
I remember thinking, "Wait, isn't iTunes a place to buy music?" What kind of new computer is this? And it all became obvious suddenly -- this is a platform for retailing. The iPad like no other computing device I'd owned before, was a platform for buying content.
And Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? The fairest retailer -- the most amazing retailer -- the leading edge retailer -- I do think the answer is Amazon.
So if you think the Kindle Fire is going to make it or break it because of Android or email or apps or all these other considerations, I think you are not looking in the right place. Look at that first set-up screen for the iPad -- and that means iTunes -- it's a store and as great a store as it is and as excellent a bunch of tools as Apple makes (and I love my iPad2 and my MacBook Pro) having Amazon as your retailing competition is seriously challenging.
Apple fan boys and girls feel free to disagree but on Wednesday, in New York, Amazon will be launching an ominous retail engine that just happens to be called the Kindle Fire. And it will be a retail engine that makes it easy as pie to buy a lot more than just music or books. And not to be overlooked, it will be very friendly to a massive audience of users who currently don't own an iPad or a Nook or any type of tablet, but love shopping on Amazon and have for years.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Amazon (picture of Jeff Bezos)