By Jaime Rivera | September 6, 2012 5:14 PM
There’s a lot of genius behind the Amazon Kindle Fire as a product. As Jeff Bezos stood on stage today to announce his new Kindle line-up, he was clear about how the Fire is a service and not a gadget, and in a way, he’s right. Whenever we go watch a movie to the theater, we’re not really concerned about the projector, the screen nor the sound system, all we want is to watch the movie, and the theater equipment is simply the means we use to consume the movie.
With that same mentality, the first-generation Kindle Fire became a hit, simply because Amazon made the bold move of selling you a cheap theater to consume their content. Their weapon to compete was the price, but simply because they’ve removed your limitations to buy the tablet in order to make more money out of the non-tangible services that the tablet can offer. In a way, they pioneered a new paradigm where products are not defined by what they are, but by what they do. This is not a Post-PC product, but a category on its own.
The genius behind this product is where it leads to. Every single Android tablet manufacturer has failed to release a hit product, simply because all they sell is a gadget. Google has tried so hard to push Google Play, but the smartest way for them to reach that goal, was to follow Amazon’s lead by releasing a product that leads to another, where in this case is the Nexus 7 in order to access Google Play. I guess the biggest question you’re asking yourself now is if any of these Amazon tablets are a Nexus 7 or iPad killer? The answer is kind of complicated.
See, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire line-up is a bold set of tablets with great specs and a price tag that’s extremely hard to even think about. I’d buy any of them right now just for the convenience of having them at such a cheap price, even if I don’t really need them. The problem with them is that they are different. I have to call them tablets, because physically they are tablets, but in a way they really aren’t. I think the only smarter name for this product would be to call it “A Portal”. Why? Well, a portal is simply a door to something else. Without that something else, that portal is useless. In that same fashion, a Kindle Fire is nothing without Amazon’s services. A traditional tablet can become whatever you want it to become by just loading it with the right apps. You can even turn a Nexus 7 or even an iPad into a sort-of a Kindle Fire by just downloading a few Amazon apps, but you can’t turn a Kindle Fire into an iPad or a Nexus 7. Surely there are ways to technically do it, but my point is that you can’t as the product was intended to function.
So, is the Amazon Kindle Fire, or are the new Kindle Fire HD iterations for you? I’ll try to divide this in two categories, the average user, and the power user.
I won’t pull any punches, this product is for you. You are the targeted market. Amazon has done a fabulous job in stripping Android off its complexity and offering you a walled garden of pure Amazon ideology. You don’t have to worry about a tough learning curve with this product, because Amazon has done a great job in making it look and feel like the bookshelf that you already have at home. Whether this is to listen to your music, watch movies, read books, play games, this tablet makes content consumption easy.
My biggest question for you now is if you’re an Amazon customer? I’m a Prime customer, so that Fire is perfect for me. I get lots of free movies, they lend me a book every month, I get special deals on music, and yes, I even get two-day shipping for free after paying $80 a year. For me, the amount of money I save in shipping costs alone makes Prime worth the money, but the added free services make owning a Kindle the ultimate portal to return your investment.
If you’re not an Amazon customer, then I suggest you think twice. See, this tablet is a portal to Amazon. The idea is that you use it to buy more of their stuff. Surely Jeff Bezos did a great job at making his slide about the cost of owning a Kindle Fire look really nice, but that wasn’t realistic. This tablet, or dare I say portal, is nothing if you don’t plan to spend money on Amazon services.
Here’s where this dilemma gets tough because the term “Power User” has evolved. I’ll try to break it down.
If you’re a power user because you use lots of apps, watch lots of movies, play lots of games or simply make the best out of every product you own, then this is a tough choice. Amazon made the terrible mistake of thinking that 16GB of storage was enough for you, and it’s not. You can pay $50 for 32GB of storage, but that’s the whole problem with being a power user. We always end-up paying more.
The other problem is, well, being able to consume Amazon content while mobile. I honestly love Amazon’s Whispersync services on all their Kindle line-up, but that won’t help you download the movie you just purchased or rented. If the portal doesn’t have an Internet connection, the portal is dead or limited to only what the storage will allow you to carry, which in the case of HD movies, isn’t a lot. Then there’s that same question again of how good an Amazon customer you are? If you are, the 32GB model will suit you fine, but if you aren’t, then I’d go the Nexus 7 route to remain on a budget, or the iPad route if you’d want to go all out.
Now, if you’re the type of power user that has no problem in rooting the tablet, then we’re talking. It’s really easy to root Kindles, and once you do, this Kindle Fire HD is a great looking tablet with a ton of powerful specs for you.
The bottom line
Amazon wants to set he world on fire with their new line of Fires (no pun intended). They are all far better than the first-generation Kindle, yes, but they are still not what I’d call a tablet. Comparing this product to a Nexus 7 is complicated because even though the Nexus 7 wants to be both a Kindle and a tablet, the Kindle Fire isn’t trying to be a tablet. The Nexus 7 would win out of simple added functionality, even though the specs on the new Fire HD line-up are far better.
If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, then how dare you even debate getting one? Just go ahead and buy it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you’d like to become an Amazon services customer, then sure, you’ll have a lot of fun with this product, so you’re somebody else I’d recommend this product to.
Sadly if you’re not an Amazon customer, aren’t interested in their services or live outside the US, my advice is that you stay away from this product. It’ll be a shiny picture frame that won’t be able to do much for you.
So, are you going to buy one? I’m still thinking about it, since I can consume almost everything I want in either the iPad or the Nexus 7. Leave us a comment down bellow on which your next move will be.