Amazon Kindles a Fire; Is Apple Listening?

Amazon recently unleashed the tablet behemoth that is the Kindle Fire. Ooohhh, scary, I know. At $200, it’s also one of the cheapest tablets to hit the market.

And as of right now, it costs 40% as much as the Apple iPad, is super quick and is being supported by Amazon’s (relatively) successful streaming services and bookstore.

Now, who’s scared?

For one, probably not Apple. Despite the fact that the Amazon tablet is priced to move (a lot), and has Amazon’s seemingly limitless digital components at its disposal, Amazon’s tablet probably won’t adversely impact the sales of Apple’s iPad.

Why, you ask? Here are a few reasons.

The Kindle Fire Isn’t Targeting The iPad

It would seem odd that a relatively inexpensive, and potentially hugely successful contender in the wide-open tablet market would not be targeted towards Apple.

But, with the Kindle Fire, Amazon is targeting entirely different consumers. Unlike Apple’s iPad, which is targeting a more high-end group of consumers, Amazon seems to be perfectly content with cornering the market on the low-end portion of the tablet spectrum. And as far as their current Kindle and customers? They would probably be perfectly content if they, too, made the tablet plunge.

And in that sense, the Fire’s lesser specs seem perfectly in line with Amazon’s goals. The Fire has a slower processor than the iPad, less memory, and uses a much older operating system. But all of those are perfectly okay, because Amazon isn’t positioning the Fire as an iPad competitor. Amazon just wants to get their foot in the door.

It’s Labeled ‘Kindle’ For A Reason

When the first Kindle came out in November of 2007, it was revolutionary in its own way. No, it wasn’t the first e-reader of its kind, but it was the best of its kind. Why? Because the Kindle bookstore completely changed how we consume books.

But that wasn’t the only huge change that it brought to the market. With the Kindle, Amazon essentially opened the door for what would eventually become a huge market for Apple: The tablet market. The Kindle was, in many ways, the first tablet that had huge adoption by the mainstream. It was remarkable in its own way simply due to the fact that it made consumers consider the experience and convenience of using a tablet more so than anything had before it.

Now, with the Kindle Fire, Amazon is hoping to revolutionize the lower-end of the tablet industry once again. By creating a highly functional tablet device at a price point that most consumers can afford, Amazon has taken another step in the same direction that they had initially embarked upon nearly four years earlier: Making tablets even more accessible to the masses.

Amazon Isn’t Selling The Kindle Fire

Wait — what? Bear with me for a moment. Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire. Got it? Confusing, I know.

But the selling of the hardware isn’t what Amazon expects will create a surge in revenue for the company. In fact, the Kindle Fire is expected to cost Amazon about $50 per device sold. Whereas Apple currently makes substantial profit with each iPad sold, Amazon will most likely be losing a fair amount of money on each device sold.

Instead, what Amazon hopes will make up for the lost production and distribution costs of the Kindle are things like the Kindle bookstore and Amazon music and video streaming. Amazon is betting that by getting more Kindles into the hands of users, their overall digital distribution revenues will more than compensate for the losses that they expect to receive from selling the hardware.

But Amazon still hasn’t proven anything. Their announcement of the Kindle Fire is just the beginning of a long, tenuous effort to at least cut into the massive tablet pie that Apple has, to this point, kept to themselves.

Now, they must convince consumers that their tablet has what it takes to compete with the likes of Apple, even if they aren’t necessarily trying to.

Do you think that Amazon will find success with the Kindle Fire?