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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.

Levi Wallach October 01, 2011 at 02:15 AM
I think it's great that Amazon is offering a real alternative to the iPad that should get it a significant chunk of the market, and really the prices for tablets have been far too high. Apple gets to charge unreasonable prices because it's really good at convincing people that have to have the product regardless of price. The other tablet purveyors have mostly fallen flat because they either can't get their costs down significantly below the iPad's or worse they can, but think that they need to charge the same or almost the same. I don't plan to buy one myself, but if I were in the market, I think I would personally rather spend an extra $100 or so and get a real Android tablet that isn't tied to Amazon for everything, has a camera, an SD card slot, and 16GB+ of internal storage. But that's me and I'm sure most people won't care about these shortcommings - at least enough to pass on the Fire...

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