October 14, 2011

Kindle Fire: Return of the Desktop?

Much has been written about the Amazon Kindle Fire (Amazon's new Android based touchscreen Kindle e-reader/media player).

Is it a game changer? Maybe. We'll see.

I've certainly ordered one, and though many say its no threat to the iPad, given its media capabilities... I dunno --- people might be surprised. If its reasonably performant (and compatible) for browsing, and given its e-commerce, e-book, and media capabilities... well, we'll see.

Certainly its going to make it tough for other Android tablet vendors; Jeff Bezos is right in asserting that devices alone don't sell (and this is old news) -- it's devices+services, as Apple has amply demonstrated again and again.

All that said, there's another interesting thing about the Kindle Fire that distinguishes its market approach from Apple's.

It's about content.

Apple sells activities -- a lifestyle; Amazon sells content.

Contrast Amazon's pitch with Apple's:

Disagree if you want, but its a philosophy difference that extends to the VERY FIRST SCREEN: Amazon hilights the content, not the application(s) -- go watch the Amazon video at the top of the post again.

Sure, you can by music, movies, and books with your iOS device, and there's no question that's a big part of the appeal -- but Apple's metaphor is about the task (books-->'Winnie the Pooh', videos-->'Inception'), and Amazon's is the reverse.


And here I thought "document-centric" computing, and the desktop metaphor it implies, was dead (I even wrote a eulogy).

Is it going to work? Maybe. We'll see.

But, either way, I have to give props to Amazon, and Bezos, for, well, trying to Think Different... :P


Dirk Cotton said...

It's an interesting choice, huh? "Buy my product to do stuff", or "Buy my product so it's easy to buy more of my products". It will be interesting to see how it pans out. Personally, I'm betting on the apps.

Sree Kotay said...

Yeah... Amazon's approach is (self-admittedly) more 'closed' in some ways, but more 'open' in others... obviously they will support apps, with a more liberal application approval policy than Apple's, for example.

But that said, and I'd be curious to see data, I think these devices will land more naturally as media consumption devices (games I consider media despite them having the 'app' moniker today...), with (eventually) browsers/HTML being the pattern for more advanced functionality as they getter and high speed connectivity gets more ubiquitous (for real) -- beyond a handful of the pre-installed functions.