The Amazon Kindle Fire: A New Precedent for Tablets?

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This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Just about a week ago, Amazon announced the launch of the Kindle Fire, its new tablet and reader. Since then, it’s made quite an impact in the tech blogosphere, causing a good amount of reactions and chatter.


With a seven inch screen, the device weights 14.6 ounces and compares similarly in specs to other seven inch tablets such as the Blackberry Playbook and Samsung Galaxy Tab. While it is certainly no iPad 2, many comparisons are being made between the two devices, and some even hypothesize that the Kindle Fire holds a serious threat to the iPad. To be honest I feel like the iPad 2 is simply a different beast capable of higher performance and a wider variety of use than the Kindle Fire; however, it also seems appropriate to contemplate how the Kindle Fire may change the concept (and demand of usage) of the tablet market from what they iPad has first established.


It’s All About the Low Price

If there is one thing that is incredibly astounding and appetizing about the Kindle Fire, it’s the insane $200 starting price. All other seven inch tablets are at least $100 (and usually $200 and up) more expensive, even months after their initial release. The iPad 2 starts out as low as $500. So the fact that the Kindle Fire is so cheap compared to competitors is quite remarkable.

Sure, the Kindle Fire also has its own set of limitations: like only 8GB of storage space with no SD slot, limited app selection compared to other Android devices, and a lack of input buttons (no external volume control). Beyond this, however, the Kindle Fire is incredibly functional, sporting a dual core processor, quick hard-drive, USB port, and a standard battery life for tablets.


How Much Performance Does Your Tablet Really Need?

One of the most common tight-rope balancing acts that modern gadget manufactures walk is the compromise between price and extra features. Particularly with new technology, it is way too easy for manufacturers to get caught up in jamming in the most features and highest performance capabilities possible, that price usually becomes an afterthought. They will just assume the device is appealing enough that people way pay whichever price for it.

However, you must keep in mind that – for the time being at least – tablets are considered “secondary” or even “luxury” computing devices in the sense that their uses, while convenient, are somewhat superfluous. There’s nothing a tablet can do that any laptop can’t. But that’s not why people buy tablets; they buy them for their mobility and ease of use.

So this begs the question: If you’re buying a tablet as a secondary computing device that essentially has the functionality of a smartphone with a large screen, why would you pay over twice as much as what you’d pay for a smartphone? Sure, being able to play graphic-intensive games on a tablet is nice, but anyone really looking for a great gaming experience is going to get a console.


Start Basic, Then Add Features

The tablet market is still very much in its infancy. Over time, I’m sure tablets will evolve to support higher-tech features and perform at higher benchmarks. For the time being, however, the safest bet for dominating the tablet market seems to be offering the most basic, utilitarian device at the lowest price. Then determine what would be the next best features to add through customer feedback.



Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

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