As almost universally expected, Amazon will launch its tablet Wednesday at an event in New York City.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself will do the honors.
Dubbed Kindle Fire, the device is said to be a 7-inch touchscreen tablet running a custom version of Google’s Android software.
Pricing for the Kindle Fire is still hush-hush.
But if Amazon wants to compete with the popular Apple iPad 2 it can’t price the Kindle Fire beyond $300. Anything more will be the kiss of death. An entry-level 16GB Apple iPad 2 WiFi-only version costs $499.
Kindle Fire is expected to start shipping in November, in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season in the U.S.
Prospects for Kindle Fire
We’re inclined to believe that Amazon is playing with fire with the Kindle Fire.
Unlike its Kindle e-reader where Amazon was early if not first to market, the company has to play catch up to the iPad tablet that’s estimated to account for 80% of all tablet shipments in the second quarter.
Also, we think the 7-inch screen is not an appropriate screen size for the tablet. Too small. The Apple iPad is 9.7-inches, the Sony S is 9.4-inches and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 10.1-inches.
A 7-inch tablet is more like an e-reader, not a tablet with more expansive features.
Plus, the Google Android tablet software and the limited number of dedicated Android tablet apps have proved to be stumbling blocks with consumers.
Amazon has the advantage of having an existing relationship with tens of millions of consumers like yours truly. But many of them, perhaps like us, are already owners of the iPad and unlikely to buy a second tablet.
But wonders never cease in the consumer electronics world.
Who knows? Amazon might surprise us all with some brilliant game plan that will have the hordes who couldn’t afford an iPad clambering upon the Kindle Fire train.
We suspect Amazon Prime streaming and two-day shipping for hard goods purchase don the site will be bundled. Perhaps, there could also be a Kindle Offers kinda version with advertisements on the tablet subsidizing a lower price.
But we remain skeptical that the Kindle Fire is going to be a big hit the way the iPad 2 has turned out to be.
By the way, we got an e-mail from Staples today informing us of a $200 discount on the Blackberry PlayBook tablet. It’s now $299.