Back in June, Harry McCracken laid out the key question to ask of any tablet: “Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad?” The Kindle Fire is interesting because it’s the first one with a good answer: it’s much cheaper, Amazon offers a digital content ecosystem that rivals Apple’s (fewer apps, more books), and millions of people already use and enjoy Kindle hardware. The e-ink Kindles are to the Kindle Fire what the music-playing iPods were to the iPhone, and what the iPhone was to the iPad — traction in the mass market based on trust and loyalty.The iPod certainly halo-ed me. It feels right when you use it. It's what makes me think if and when I buy a new laptop, I'd want a MacBook Air. As for the tablet, that's more of a toss-up--as, really, it's not really all that necessary. Most of the reason I want a tablet at the moment, is because it would be a more cost-effective way to subscribe to magazines when traveling abroad.
Apple and Amazon are approaching this tablet territory from opposing sides. The iPad takes it on from the high end. It’s the best possible device in that price range from the world’s best maker of devices. The Kindle Fire takes it on from the low end. The iPad is a credible laptop replacement for many people — and with iCloud and another year or two of hardware improvements, that’s going to be true for more and more people. The Kindle Fire is a laptop replacement for almost no one. It’s a peripheral, not a second computer — and it’s priced accordingly. You can get a Kindle Fire and a new top-of-the-line e-ink Kindle Touch for less than the price of an iPad. It’s a very different take.Very true. If I was in the U.S., I'd be tempted to go for the dual Amazon set-up over the one iPad. It would be like having that fabled e-ink/back-lit dual display machine. Except, you know, one of the screens goes in your back-pocket and the other screen goes in your jacket pocket.
In any case, I would wait on the tablet. Many have said Amazon rushed it out for the holiday season, and another, more awesome--more Amazon designed--tablet will be forthcoming early next year. Maybe January.
In other news, some people are freaked by letting all of their browser's browsing be processed by Amazon--privacy and such.