Apple fanboy blogger taking a close look at this new Amazon tablet thingamajig

posted at 8:45 pm on September 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Tech Crunch, easily the biggest news to hit the tech market since Apple rolled out its latest thingamajig.

The Kindle Fire marks a significant departure from Amazon’s norm. The most notable change is obviously the multitouch 7-inch LCD rather than an e-ink display, but moreover, the Kindle Fire is a complete storefront for the retailer rather than just an ereader. The tablet features apps for Amazon’s Android Appstore, Kindle store, Amazon MP3, and Prime Instant Video. Nearly all of Amazon’s recent news, Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon Cloud Drive, Kindle Cloud Reader, the streaming deals with Fox and NBCUniversal, were in preparation for the Fire. With these cloud services in place, the Kindle Fire is a legitimate iPad competitor.

But it’s more than just Amazon apps. Users are free to load apps from Amazon’s Android Appstore including Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, and, most notably, Netflix.

The Fire runs a custom OS build that completely hides its Android 2.x underpinnings. Amazon built, without the help of Google we’re told, an experience centered around all of Amazon’s retail and cloud services. This is an Amazon tablet and not just a Kindle.

No camera, no mic, no 3G, and the screen’s smaller than the iPad’s, but — it retails at just $199, fully $300 less than the iPad, and that comes with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. It also comes with a proprietary browser called Amazon Silk, which apparently makes surfing much quicker by outsourcing some of the process to Amazon’s servers rather than doing it all inside the device. Jeff Bezos claims that they’re not selling the Fire at a loss, as many expected they would with an eye to making back the lost revenue via the resulting spike in Amazon media sales. I’m not sure I believe that, but maybe that’s just the Apple fanboy in me talking. If Amazon’s capable of cranking these things out and earning a profit on each one at $199, hoo boy.

Normally this is the point in our gadget posts where I ask why someone would buy this. In this case, I’m wondering why someone wouldn’t buy it. All I use my iPad for, really, is Twitter, e-mail, a little reading, and the occasional game, all of which the Fire seems more than capable of handling. If you’re constantly on the go then the lack of 3G is a problem, but if you typically use your iPad as a lying-around-the-house device, why not buy this instead and apply the $300 in savings to media purchases? In fact, precisely because Amazon’s brand is so strongly associated with retail shopping of all sorts, I bet they’ll see a surge in their storefront revenue even above and beyond what they’re expecting to gain from new customers via sales of the Fire. Why go to Target when Bezos has already reeled you in with free shipping via Amazon Prime? Just order everything through your new omni-device and never get off the couch. Exit question: What now, Apple?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

But I doubt you’ll see lines of geek-tents wrapped around the building.

Tony737 on September 28, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Don’t have to, just a few clicks away! I want one! :~)

IowaWoman on September 29, 2011 at 2:43 AM

Geeking out over it. Hope to get it late November, if there isn’t a waiting list to receive them. At this price it’s a no-brainer, though they are rumored to be coming out with a 11″ screen sometime in 2012.

waelse1 on September 29, 2011 at 2:44 AM

But I was able to get online and read HA for example on my Kindle 3G without paying? And check my e-mail without paying for Boingo?

Yes I am brain dead when it comes to this stuff. LOL

Knucklehead on September 29, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Ah! The Kindle 3G actually uses the ATT 3G network to get web access–Amazon completely subsidizes the cost so you don’t have to pay ATT for the service. Wifi is actually a wireless access point that broadcasts within a small radius (like, a small building) and which requires some other source of access somewhere. If you have heard of “tethering”, that is when a phone is able to use their 3G (or other types) connection to create a wifi access point.

In short, if you have a Kindle 3G you don’t need wifi in most places because you can use ATTs network. However, 3G uses more power so if you have access to free wifi you should use it instead of 3G.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 2:46 AM

Have a wifi only iPad2… the Amazon Fire appears to be a great competitor for iTunes & iBooks. However, if I don’t have wifi access… I can still watch movies, my board review videos, listen to music, or read books/magazines.

Just like any other wifi tablet… I can use Skype, FaceTime, Oovoo (etc.) to video chat w/ friends & family… Does this have a camera? Photos? Video?

Can create/edit MS Office documents for work… no different vs any other tablet… except the Amazon Fire.

The iPad already has developed business & clinical market applications… Portability is great for work environments. For instance, within the next 10 years you may be seeing more doctors & nurses bringing tablets like the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, etc. into the exam room with the patient to both document & educate… The Amazon Fire… don’t think so.

Depends on what you use the tablet for, pick your product. Personally, I’ve become an Apple convert 5 years ago & haven’t looked back. All of the hardware & software are Apple. They all easily sync an communicate with each other. No conflicts backing up to my computer. There are 2 Apple Stores within a 30 minute drive from my home or work. Whenever I did have anything that needed to be serviced, or any other question… I have simply made an appointment & within 2 hrs (including travel time) I’m back at home with my gadget in hand….

However, since I’ve had my wifi only iPad2, I’ve noticed I’ve markedly decreased my data consumption with my old iPhone3… making it harder to justify getting another iPhone. If the frigging plans weren’t so g-damn expensive, I wouldn’t think twice… Since the phone would just be a phone, and I don’t text anyone other than my wife… I may consider getting a cheaper Blackberry… RIM has developed good interfacing software so that I should be easily able to sync my contacts/data with my laptop….

If you have a problem with your Amazon Fire? Probably take it to the Geek Squad…

The Fire will certainly compete for the iPad consumer who uses it for simply twitter, browsing, checking out Facebook… & that’s fine… Competition is great.

So… “Exit question: What now, Apple?”

1st – Spit out the iPhone5.
2nd – Transition web computing to iCloud (though… still waiting)
3rd – Market the iPad3.
4th – Evaluate the impact the Amazon Fire has on Amazon revenue… Then…
5th – Buy Amazon but keeping Bezos in charge…

Danny on September 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

If you have a problem with your Amazon Fire? Probably take it to the Geek Squad…

Danny on September 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

LOL, or just buy a new one, and use the $200 you STILL saved over an iPad to take a nice trip to Cupertino, where you can visit the Apple HQ as well as Lab126, a couple of blocks away, where the Fire was built.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 3:06 AM

Danny on September 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

Also, the Samsung Galaxy is an Android tablet like the Fire. Amazon’s tablet runs android apps, but it seems they have effectively forked the Android codebase. Amazon is a big name, and it is pretty likely that apps will be written specifically for the Kindle line of devices in addition to (or even instead of) Samsung Galaxy and other tablets, which will have a much smaller user base and which cost much more.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 3:09 AM

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 1:09 AM

You may believe that Amazon keeps no records of what you have done using their hardware/software online, but I would just disagree.

Nobody said that. What I said is that they aren’t persisting any personal information for the Silk service. I know this because they have explicitly stated as much.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Ah, well, that’s where you and I will just have to disagree. It may be due to some skepticism I’ve accumulated after a few score years of IT experience. But I’m just prone to questioning the whole “your personal information is safe with us” line. There is a reason why people get targeted email & snail mail spam and phone calls looking to sell very specific products.

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 3:14 AM

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 3:06 AM

Touché. Points well taken.

As I said, it appears to be a good product which will certainly find a loyal consumer base… I simply cited my reasons why Apple has been an overall better fit for me.

I’d rather not pay for the same product twice (re: Geek Squad response)… Visiting Cupertino is intriguing… However, if I was going to visit California, I’d rather go to Napa Valley to sample wine… Then again, for the same cost, I could go to Italy, visit my family there, and settle for good local chianti.

You are absolutely correct that Amazon has a big name… I regret not having money to buy stock in either company 10+ years ago…

But I’m not certain that the Amazon Fire will be able to catch up in business or healthcare unless they aggressively pursue it. The iPad already has a significant head start. The Amazon Fire (superficially to my ignorant 1st glance) appears to be focused primarily on entertainment (e.g. movies, tv, reading). I’m not certain that was anywhere near the original intent of the iPad, but rather a pleasant surprise. Unlike Obama, I think Apple is leading from the front here… The Fire looks good, but it is playing catch up. I already have all of the tailored apps I need for work.

I do like the ability to carry my data with me & choose what I want to store in the “cloud”. Without wifi, is the Fire just a paperweight?

My use of the Samsung Galaxy was perhaps too simplistic an example… the Android OS is quite good… Five years ago it simply made more sense to me to have both the hardware & software from the same vendor – and I’ve had a great experience with Apple products. I was tired of software problems with different hardware vendors – but that was the Microsoft pre-Android era. I just don’t see any reason to switch at this point. Frankly, I’m glad that Android OS is out there, because both the phones, tablets will force Apple to continue to innovate.

It still comes down to competition… The iPadx with iOSx vs whichever tablet running Android… I think the other Android tablets may need to decrease their price to compete with the Amazon Fire – if it can perform to do more than simply serve as an Amazon storefront – but there will always be people who will pay more for Apple products. I’d rather do the latter (wifi only though) than invest the additional $$$ saved in Solyndra.

Danny on September 29, 2011 at 4:06 AM

I love it… anything to get away from having to use Apple’s idiotic iTunes… I mean when was Mr. Jobs going to make that damn software user friendly. For a company that prides itself on the user experience, Apple should at least make their software bearable. Organizing your Apps is like origami without the instructions. Oh and God forbid they let just backup yuor iPhone to 1 Files instead of having only a choice between Outlook Apples paid service.

And then theirs Flash… Jobs should stop whining about crashes and fix Apple’s software because the PC world doesn’t have his problem.

And I am an Apple user… but Amazon has certainly put the pressure on Apple to offer more then only Jobs idea of productivity.

Maybe this Fire is why Apple lowered their production orders by 25% the other day.

Bob on September 29, 2011 at 5:29 AM

Tell me about battery; charge….will she hold a solid two weeks under heavy use?

Sherman1864 on September 29, 2011 at 6:13 AM

I can wait on this. I like to wait a few generations before getting gadgets so it gives them some time to work out the kinks first.

ScoopPC11 on September 29, 2011 at 7:14 AM

I bought a Kindle#3 and enjoyed it so much I bought my mother one. She loves it because she has a hard time carrying a Clancy book or holding it for hours in bed. (Last one was over 700 pages and 2+ pounds.) The power lasts for me to read about 2 books with 3G/WiFi off. But how often are you so far away you can’t plug into a USB port to recharge?

It is easy to read, easy to carry and Amazon makes it VERY easy to buy more books, instantly.

I say all this, because they didn’t just introduce the Fire yesterday. They introduced several new Kindles without the keyboards. Two with touch screens and one with just arrows. But all low priced. (2 < $100 and 1 for $149)

All that is said to make the following points:
1) Amazon just cut a deal with library's across the country to lend via the Kindle. (Mine does.)
2) The lowest priced new Kindle is $79. Every School system in the country should only issue books via a Kindle. (Amazon should come out with a School Bus yellow one.)
3) I wanted to buy a Kindle for my Grandkids and the Great Nieces and Nephews, but Kindle didn't make a color one; They do now, Kindle Fire. I will be ordering 6 this week.

barnone on September 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Meh. I just got my first Kindle, the Kindle Keyboard 3G for $139, a month or so ago. I’m in no hurry to upgrade; I’m still getting used to having an electronic device that (1) can hold its charge for a week or more, instead of less than a day (as with a laptop or an iPod) and (2) can be clearly read even in bright sunlight (again, unlike a laptop and probably unlike an LCD tablet).

Aitch748 on September 29, 2011 at 9:33 AM

My wife loves reading on her kindle and she is totally addicted to the scrabble app. I see one of these in her future. (couple years maybe)

It will replace her netbook and Kindle.

esnap on September 29, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Tell me about battery; charge….will she hold a solid two weeks under heavy use?

Sherman1864 on September 29, 2011 at 6:13 AM

It says about 8 or 9 hours if you’re using the wi-fi, which is about what I get on my Toshiba netbook. Some people get up to 30 days on charge on a Kindle when they keep the wi-fi shut off.

Knucklehead on September 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I got the “defunct” HP TouchPad with the WebOS. LOVE IT!!!! Camera suxs big time but I don’t Skype, and I can’t anybody in my family to do that either. If they do I got the notebook for that.

I can blog/email/browse, answer to comments on the blog, sometimes I use the dock to charge it which is great. Just put it there and that’s it. I don’t think I will get the Bluetooth keyboard because it’s easy to type already.

I downloaded the home brewers’ app to overclock it and tweak it; I thought that that was one of the first things for this geeky girl to do that, but so far its speed does not bug me. The power button DOES. Takes too long to turn it off and on-hope they get a fix for that.

There’s a new release in white (saw it in Amazon.com and Ebay) and there’s the regular black, with AT&T. HP got the head honcho fired and put someone else in, and I can only hope that they backpedal their stupid decision and build a 2.0 of this puppy that will kick the iPad’s butt.

ProudPalinFan on September 29, 2011 at 1:26 PM

I’ve accumulated after a few score years of IT experience.
whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 3:14 AM

That should be “decades” not score, lol. Already feel old enough.

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Why would anyone want to forsake privacy for a few moments of quicker rendering? …

Sailfish on September 28, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Well, first of all… you can turn it off if you’re really bothered by it. But otherwise… eh, we’ll see. Unlike Facebook, Amazon has already said that they aren’t storing data long term and it is supposedly anonymized. Regardless, right now everything you do online can be stored by any number of people along the way. Going through Silk you will be fully anonymized on the other side of Amazon servers (unless you provide user info to sites you visit), so…

DaveS on September 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

That’s the same logic Facebook uses every time they create another misunderstood privacy invasion. The default should be Opt-in, not Opt-out. Also, do you have a link where it states that one can truly opt-out as you imply, i.e., disconnect completely from AWS and perform http and https requests without engaging any Amazon cloud server unless it is to buy a product? If not, why are you so trusting?

…It’s a question of who do you trust more (or less) to protect your privacy…

a) Amazon, who have a good track record re privacy and are famous for putting customer interests ahead of short-term profits with the expectation that your loyalty will pay-off in the long run

DaveS on September 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

Amazon will bow to political pressure just like any other company. Recent case in point, Ford

or

b) random people on the internet?

We’ll see what happens. I suspect we’ll be hearing more complaining about this one in coming months.

DaveS on September 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

It won’t take even that long:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/29/amazon_silk_looks_phormulaic/

Sailfish on September 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Apple is executing a brilliant plan to change Internet use as we know it, and Amazon is executing what is probably the only strategy that stands a chance of upsetting Apple’s lead in doing so.

Apple’s iPhone and iPad are the front end of a radical business strategy designed to eventually give the company vast and in some cases even complete control over how consumer’s access and use the Internet, applications and services.

Prior to the advent of the iPhone and iPad, Internet access was defined by vast user/consumer freedom and choice, and a great and notable lack of corporate control over that freedom and choice.

This “Internet-freedom” if you will and lack of unitary corporate control over our use of the net was the defining hallmark of the Internet and the reason for its unprecedented growth and popularity.

Apple is keenly aware that consumers using smart phones and pad devices can be (and are) under far more control by a single corporation than when using a PC – and that significant change in control translates to revenue, lots and lots of revenue.

Apple has devised a brilliant, but fiendish business strategy. They are replacing consumer’s Internet-freedom with Apple corporate control in exchange for cute little flat devices. And the real ugly genius of Apple’s strategy is that they have consumers drooling and stumbling over themselves to pay them large sums of money to do so.

Brilliant classic rope-a-dope strategy. Fiendish, but brilliant.

DrDeano on September 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Thanks for the information, Knucklehead! Appreciated!!

It says about 8 or 9 hours if you’re using the wi-fi, which is about what I get on my Toshiba netbook. Some people get up to 30 days on charge on a Kindle when they keep the wi-fi shut off.
Knucklehead on September 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Sherman1864 on September 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Sailfish, there is a lot of hand-wringing over privacy concerns with Silk based on baseless assumptions made by alarmists in the tech press. These assumptions have been shown to be incorrect by later statements by Amazon, and were already known to be incorrect by those who were paying attention. For example, the writer at your Register link based his very non-substantive complaints about Silk on yet another tech writer complaining on some site called ‘nakedsecurity.sophos.com‘, in an article which has since been updated with this important bit of information:

Update: A spokesperson for Amazon contacted me this morning to clarify their position. They stated “usage data is collected anonymously and stored in aggregate, and no personal identifiable information is stored.”

This does not prevent Amazon from capturing your traffic if ordered to do so, but suggests that the logging they perform may not be useful for invading someone’s privacy.

Well, duh… Amazon has no interest in storing personal information there. The genuine privacy concerns would be too great to make it worth their while. Anyone paying attention–instead of looking to gin up privacy controversy–already knew that there are no personal details stored, as they have already made that very clear.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Also worth noting… your ISP can be ordered to track your web browsing traffic, so the “Amazon can be ordered to do so” is a bit of a moot point. There are already plenty of mechanisms to do that.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Apple has devised a brilliant, but fiendish business strategy. They are replacing consumer’s Internet-freedom with Apple corporate control in exchange for cute little flat devices. And the real ugly genius of Apple’s strategy is that they have consumers drooling and stumbling over themselves to pay them large sums of money to do so.
Brilliant classic rope-a-dope strategy. Fiendish, but brilliant.
DrDeano on September 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

There’s no doubt that Apple and other IT companies will take as much control of your “online experience” as a person is willing to surrender. Caveat emptor, as they say.

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM

@DaveS, first, notice the weasel-worded response:

This does not prevent Amazon from capturing your traffic if ordered to do so, but suggests that the logging they perform may not be useful for invading someone’s privacy.

That means that they aren’t sure given the response from Amazon. So, all I want to see from Amazon is a bit of sunshine on addressing this concern. Will they default Silk (or any other AWS cloud device) to be Opt-in to the cloud? Also, can I configure said devices to use my WiFi settings (Mac address, WEP, &c) or cell provider settings, to insure that Amazon won’t be a Man-In-The-Middle anywhere along the line? It may be so but I’ve not seen that stipulated anywhere. I asked you for a link to provide that information and yet all you have done is provide more “What, Me Worry?” words.

Yes, my ISP can be ordered to provide my net history but at least I’m aware of that when I sign up to them and why would anyone want to double, triple, …, umpteen times proliferate this privacy exposure with companies like Facebook, Google and now, apparently, Amazon, et. al.?

Sailfish on September 29, 2011 at 5:42 PM

If you have a problem with your Amazon Fire? Probably take it to the Geek Squad…

Danny on September 29, 2011 at 3:01 AM

If it’s any thing like the regular Kindles: you call Amazon. If they can’t fix it over the phone you send it to them and they either repair it or send a new one.

It says about 8 or 9 hours if you’re using the wi-fi, which is about what I get on my Toshiba netbook. Some people get up to 30 days on charge on a Kindle when they keep the wi-fi shut off.

Knucklehead on September 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I imagine the Fire needs recharging a lot more often, but My Kindle 2 needs a recharge about once a month if I keep the wifi off. Even when I fall asleep and leave the device on.

Shay on September 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Will they default Silk (or any other AWS cloud device) to be Opt-in to the cloud? Also, can I configure said devices to use my WiFi settings (Mac address, WEP, &c) or cell provider settings, to insure that Amazon won’t be a Man-In-The-Middle anywhere along the line? It may be so but I’ve not seen that stipulated anywhere
Sailfish on September 29, 2011 at 5:42 PM

This, from ZDNet News, might be of some interest:
Amazon’s Kindle Fire Silk browser has serious security concerns
“Summary: Silk looks to be very fast and about as private as a bathroom stall without a door.”

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Android underpinnings? I thought the Kindle ran on ubuntu? When it first came out we broke it down to a web broswer using Amazon 3G service for free. This is bad, btw. Don’t “jail break” your Kindle. So. We restored it, but … when did they change out the OS?

BrideOfRove on September 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Android underpinnings? I thought the Kindle ran on ubuntu? When it first came out we broke it down to a web broswer using Amazon 3G service for free. This is bad, btw. Don’t “jail break” your Kindle. So. We restored it, but … when did they change out the OS?

BrideOfRove on September 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

From the article…

The Fire runs a custom OS build that completely hides its Android 2.x underpinnings. Amazon built, without the help of Google we’re told, an experience centered around all of Amazon’s retail and cloud services. This is an Amazon tablet and not just a Kindle.

The e-ink kindles are fundmentally unchanged from previous versions.

DaveS on September 29, 2011 at 7:20 PM

So. Android apps? I want. I don’t need because I have a Kindle, iPhone, iPad, laptop and several desktops and godonlyknowwhatelseI’veForgotten … but I want one anyway.

BrideOfRove on September 29, 2011 at 10:27 PM

no bluetooth, no go :(

JVelez on September 30, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Exit question: What now, Apple?

Cry to the nearest court and beg them to stop amazon….

the_ancient on September 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Comment pages: 1 2