Buyers of Amazon's Kindle Fire, the upcoming 7" color-screen tablet, will be able to download some of the most popular music and video apps. Combined with a low price and integration with Amazon's cloud services, the Kindle Fire will become an affordable entrant to a market dominated by the more expensive Apple iPad.
The Kindle Fire begins shipping November 15 and costs $199, well below the iPad's lowest price point of $499. The Android-powered tablet won't be like other Android devices. It will contain a new web browser, Amazon Silk, and an interface created especially for the Kindle Fire. It has 8 BG of internal storage but offers free cloud storage for music, movies, books and apps.
Pandora, Rhapsody, Netflix, Twitter and thousands of other apps will be available for Kindle Fire devices. Amazon says all apps have been "Amazon-tested on Kindle Fire for the best possible experience," which addresses usability issues that arise when different Android devices run the same app. Songza CEO Elias Roman tells Billboard.biz the company's app, which streams handcrafted mixtapes, has been tailored specifically for the Kindle Fire and provides a different sort of Songza experience than is offered on other platforms.
Reports say the Kindle Fire received 250,000 orders in the first five days and Amazon has increased production to 5 million units from the original 3.5 million units.
What does it mean for Apple? A study by ChangeWave Research has found that 26 percent of early adopters surveyed will delay or put on hold a purchase of an iPad 2. But some analysts don't seem to be worried. Analysts from IDC, Forrester Research told Computerworld that the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook tablet will expand the tablet market without eroding Apple's place at the high end. "The Fire can do well at the low-end, while the iPad will dominate on the mid- to high- end," said Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities.