Amazon’s Kindle Fire Shakes Up Digital Landscape
New hardware with aggressive pricing and accelerated media integration sets the stage for holiday shopping.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos threw down his gauntlet when he introduced several new Kindle e-readers that aim to keep the users connected to the online everything store, whether you are reading, watching movies, enjoying your music, playing games or browsing the Internet.
The star of the announcement was the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch color touchscreen tablet with WiFi. It is priced at $199 and set to be released Nov. 15. Other Kindle models with less features are priced from $79 to $189.
Amazon’s launched Kindle back in November 2007 and it changed the public’s perception on how to shop for and read books. E-books and e-readers were available before Kindle, but the Kindle attracted a mass audience. A key feature was that you could purchase new books wirelessly over a cell phone signal that didn’t require signing up and paying for a separate data plan. You could finish one volume in a series and in seconds be reading the other volume. As Apple products, such as the iPod, required you to use the Apple iTunes software, Amazon relied on a proprietary format (.azw for e-books).
Amazon’s newest announcements are aggressive moves to dominate the e-reader and the tablet-as-media device markets. Amazon knew that it had to have aggressive pricing to compete with Barns & Noble’s Nook and Apple’s products.
Beyond pricing, Amazon offers an integrated shopping experience. The built-in browser on the Kindle Fire is called Amazon Silk, which speeds browsing by using cloud processing power to preload pages for fast viewing. The aggressive pricing of the Kindle line is made possible as a loss leader to get consumers to visit the Amazon store, where they can buy just about anything they want.