When Amazon first introduced the Kindle Fire, it was an exciting event in the world of tech. The first 7 inch tablet machine that was actually pretty nice and at a $200 price point. Revolutionary. Since then, we have seen many Android 7 inch tablets and the real kicker was the Nexus 7 tablet from Google. Nexus 7 is a much better tablet than the fire at the same great price.
So now what does Amazon do? They need to replace the Fire with an updated, better, faster, thinner tablet obviously. But will that really get them back in the game and do they really want to be a part of this arms race? New reports say Amazon will use an ad supported model to reduce the price of the next Fire. Amazon has had ad supported Kindles in the past for its black and white versions. I think it’s a great idea and could work well on the Fire as well. They could bring the price down to probably $150, significantly cheaper than the Nexus 7, but Google could match that if it really wanted to.
Here is a bigger, much bolder plan. Free.
Give the thing away for free, or even better, free with a subscription to Amazon Prime which is $79/yr and gets you two day shipping, streaming movies and Kindle books you can borrow. Now that would seriously change the game.
Amazon is not a hardware company and they should remember that. They should not, under any circumstances, try to compete with Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, ect. It’s not their game and they will get killed. Amazon is the greatest retail store on the Internet, both for digital and physical goods. A tablet computer is the ultimate interface to that store. Kindle Fire was a great first step at creating a tablet that makes it so easy to buy from Amazon. This was the right direction and now they need to take it up a notch. A thinner, faster, lighter tablet, free with Amazon Prime. How in the world is anyone going to compete with that? Sure Google has the Play Store, but that’s a joke compared to the Amazon store. Apple has a store that maybe could pull it off, but free isn’t Apple’s game, they will never go that way.
Amazon has been king of the hill when it comes to ebooks and the digital storefront, but competition is heating up fast and the tablet is increasingly the machine people are using for more casual tasks like online shopping. It’s an age old adage, give away the razor, sell the blades. In this case, the razor is the tablet and the blades are the store inventory. Amazon has a chance to not just compete, but really change the game. Will they take that chance?