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Why the iPad Mini Will Extinguish the Kindle Fire HD

Steven Blum
5

Nobody in the AndroidPIT community seems to care about the Kindle Fire HD.

We've written about the device three times over the past two days and the numbers for those articles are pathetic. Nobody is reading our articles. We're doing our job, talking about the tablet at length, doling out the blog posts, but the response has been lackluster.

Why?

Is it because it's not really an Android tablet, and therefore nothing our fans would actually be interested in? Is it because the price isn't that great for dual-core tablet? Or is it something else? 

I wrote earlier about how I thought Apple's iPad Mini will crush Amazon's and Google's offerings in the tablet market. Even though I believe Apple will likely release a budget tablet that is at least $100 more expensive than the cheapest Kindle Fire HD, I still think they're going to trample both of these companies.

Once the hype fades and newspapers get back to reporting on other devices, I don't think the Kindle Fire HD is going to cause much of a sensation. Certainly it's not going to create the kind of scalable success as that the first tablet did. The reason? While Amazon may have been the first to create a budget tablet, they have already been upstaged by the Nexus 7 and even the Galaxy Tab 7. What they presented yesterday was not so much a worthy successor to the Kindle Fire as an attempt to play catch-up by trying to appeal to every segment of the consumer demographic.

Now, this is not to say Amazon doesn't have a few balls in their court. Their appstore's selection of magazines and books is second to none, Amazon Prime is an incredible value for the media-addicted consumer, and there are way less spammy apps to contend with when searching for something to download. These are all great things.

But there are plenty of reasons not to buy any of these Amazon tablets as well. The fact that they feature advertising on all of their lockscreens that is impossible to remove is a slap in the face to someone who just paid $500 for a 4G tablet. The screen is passable, but the processor inside the Kindle Fire HD is nowhere near as powerful as the Nexus 7's. Lastly, the carousel UI is a total bore; there's no way to customize these devices. They have been almost purely manufactured for consuming media. 

Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos puts on a good show yesterday. Compared to Nokia's and Motorola's most recent press conference, Amazon's had plenty of moments that really impressed me. There's no doubt the company has made reading sexier*, and that's great. But is this the tablet the public has been waiting for? No way. Amazon has left the budget tablet market wide open for another company to swoop in and make a huge impact. And its name begins with A and rhymes with baffle.

I'm not saying this is the full reason why our Kindle Fire HD articles aren't doing well. It's also been a slow day, traffice-wise. And it's worth noting that our articles about the first Kindle Fire didn't do so well either, and that device clobbered the Android tablet scene like a genetically-mutated Godzilla from hell . But it's a far different market these days, and Amazon just isn't bringing their A-game with the Kindle Fire HD. 

*I would also bite off my left arm to buy a Kindle Paper White immediately. 

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  • Glostermeteor Sep 7, 2012 Link

    I agree with a lot of points in this article but I think some also apply to apple equally unless they are about to release a brand spanking new OS, their devices are just as inflexible as Amazons, beyond installing Apps I cant do much else with my iPad. I agree that compared with stock android amazons offering is very inflexible but iOS as it stands has a similar problem. The other issue Apple has is price, there are so many tablets on the market now and a lot are of pretty good quality so they will not be able to keep the same profit margins that they had before.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 7, 2012 Link

    At some point Android may catch up with iPads in the tablet market but, with the Surface on it's way, they may not. Either way, the Android to come closest was the Kindle Fire (and it really didn't come close at all). Why anyone would pay good money for an advertising platform.... it baffles (HA!) common sense. I'd sooner grapple (HA2! :) with my POS Toshiba Thrive (please don't flame me for bashing the Thrive..... it really is crap and it's not my fault :)

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  • Robert Princeton Sep 8, 2012 Link

    Couple of points:

    1. The 'new' Kindle is not new at all except for its sizes, which others have already produced. Not only is its UI boring, it's not easy to use. Worse, just like the iPad, it (a) locks you in to one store (aZon's Vs iTunes) and (b) to its own system (iAzon [a bastardized version of gDroid] Vs iOS). This latter 'feature' means no updates not sanctioned by the guy in control. More about that later.

    2. Who wants to wait for something new and better just because it might be cheaper? There's always going to be something new and better coming up soon, but it won't be tired, old Windows or even the iCrap. People are looking for a product that works well (with the same or similar UI) on any kind of electronic hardware from from refrigerators to computers. Guess which company is doing that: Google.

    3. There's an election going on that probably has the attention of most buyers (read would-be commentators) because the choice between: (a) The Good: staying the (admittedly overly long) course to long-term financial recovery and/or (b) The Bad: returning all power to the gangsters who got us where we are by trying to bankrupt the government in hopes of running things without interference.

    BTW:

    1. The guy in control: (a) While Jeff Bezos is no Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is no angel. He was more akin to the Pied Piper.(b) Apple doesn't rhyme with 'baffle' as much as it does with 'swindle', which is why many commentators refer to the iPod, iPhone and/or iPads as iSwindles. They're obviously baffled that people are still buying these toys when there's a useful system that is free to use and modify on equipment that's just as good. (c) Besides paying a premium for something that does what all the competitors' devices do, ie play music, take pictures, and/or make telephone calls they, similar to the Kindles, stick you with buying from the Company Store--an 18th century idea that these guys have slickly reinvented. Maybe the IU is a bit more slick than the Kindle's is, but they don't really do anything else, do they?

    Last thought: I know you guys make your living by writing about technology, but don't despair about the lull in news or suggest we wait for another piece of iCrap or something else that might be 'new and better'. Don't bother quoting all of the BS that got Apple where it is because I can think and understand that freedom to do what you want is always better than being locked in and down. The tortoise usually beats the hare, and major manufacturers are betting on the tortoise.

    2. The guys who want to be in control: (a) The Ugly: the Tee-Pee'ers and 1%ters who are pushing Robmey and Ratyan on the rest of us. As President Eisenhower said, "beware the of the military industrial complex."

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  • Jürgen K. Sep 8, 2012 Link

    I think one big reason for people to buy the Kindle tablets is the existing ecosystem behind it, which peole can use in europe to.

    Google has a good working ecosystem in the US (books, music,magazines,movies,...), but till now thats not available everywhere.

    Amazon offers it´s online products/media in more countries and more countries means more people to use the ecosystem.

    The "normal/average" user doesn´t care which operation system is installed ...whether it´s Android 2.3 or 4.0 or it´s iOS.
    If he gets the apps, the music or whatever he wants, served in a way easy to consume it will be succesfull.

    To be honest...I´ve got a G1, a Nexus S and an Eeepad Transformer...I´m an Android Fanboy and a will be in the future, because I like the openess of the system.

    But I´m sure that´s not the point for all users.

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  • Sean Foster Sep 9, 2012 Link

    Looks like they are responding to those that are interested but not in the ads http://m.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/tablets/kindle-fire-hd-ad-opt-outs-will-cost-15-1095812

    This just makes it more expensive and a bit less competitive. Their is probably still a big market from consumers who just want what they want delivered / fed to them in a convenient package.

    I'm not interested even at the cheaper price. Mostly because I like choice and variety and the flexibility to do what I want to do. This probably means that I am not the target demographic, and this doesn't trouble me. I may trade in my Xoom when a 10" nexus tablet catches my eye.

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