Why You Should Care About the Kindle “Fire”

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News of Amazon’s official unveiling of the Kindle “Fire,” Amazon’s first tablet, blazed across the blogosphere as the 7-inch device, at only $199– less than half the price of an iPad–might truly give Apple some worthy competition.

What’s it to you?

A 7-inch tablet that would fit nicely in a headrest from a top brand at $200 could set the rear seat entertainment market on its ear.

Amazon Kindle FireThe Fire is not just another Android tablet. It runs a highly customized version of Android that gives you access to Amazon apps. You can also stream movies and TV shows from Amazon. It goes on sale November 15 and pre-orders begin Wednesday.

Amazon is expected to ship between 2 and 3 million of the devices in Q4, says Janney Capital Markets. (By contrast only 200,000 BlackBerry PlayBook 7-inch tablets shipped in the recent quarter from Research in Motion).

Why you shouldn’t panic.

The device does have some limitations. It’s not 3G capable…yet. The WiFi only model also has limited access to apps compared to the iPad. And it has no camera or microphone.

Janney Capital says Amazon may offer a better appointed 10-inch version with dual processor early next year.

If the larger device proves far more popular, the car stereo industry may yet be spared the disruption of a 7-inch blockbuster tablet for a few more years.

At any rate, Amazon’s Fire will be closely watched. Amazon is offering a low cost, easy-to-use device on a mega-high traffic web site. That formula worked well for the Kindle, notes The Wall Street Journal.

Another Note for Specialists

Internet shopping. The Kindle Fire may make shopping from the Internet even more ubiquitous. Bloomberg notes the Fire is ”… a sit-back-on-the-sofa- and-shop device… If the Fire and its inevitable sequels are successful, they will add even more might to one of the fastest-growing retail operations the world has ever seen.”

Apple has sold 28.7 million iPads, and that has been enough to cause a shift in ecommerce sales. A fifth of all mobile ecommerce is now purchased from a tablet, reports Forrester Research.

We’re saying this every day: get your web site up and ready and updated frequently.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg

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