Sep 30 AT 11:19 AM Dustin Earley 61 Comments

Every time a new Android tablet comes out, it’s always the same thing: “This tablet has THIS dual-core processor. This tablet has THIS size display. This tablet has THIS firmware.” Over, and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, specs are important to a certain extent. The problem is, they don’t matter nearly as much as manufacturers think they do. Or as much as manufacturers want you to think they do. The Kindle Fire is about to prove just how true this is.

Amazon finally has it right. It’s all about the content. Samsung, Motorola, ASUS and HTC all rely on Google to provide content for their devices. Google has really just started to offer their own forms of content with Google Music, Movies and Books. In the grand scale of media services, Google still has a long way to go, too. Sure, Samsung and HTC both have some form of media service available for their respective devices, but they’re weak compared to Google. And compared to Amazon, they’re a really bad joke. At the end of the day, you have to ask the question: What is a tablet like the Motorola Xoom best at? Providing media like books and movies? Writing emails? Being affordable?

After watching the original announcement of the Kindle Fire, one thing is clear: Amazon wants to provide you with an ultra-affordable way to consume content. Not Google’s content, Amazon’s. Which includes an impressive amount of apps, books, movies, television shows and more. Whenever a new Android tablet comes out, all the hands-on demos and interviews with company representatives revolve around the specs and features of the device. Amazon may have mentioned what was under the hood, but that information played third fiddle to the content that will be made available. Because Amazon understands what consumers want. An ultra-affordable way to consume content, with special emphasis on “ultra-affordable.”

Just as important as the services that only an Amazon tablet can provide is the price you’ll pay to use them. By not fretting over things like a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, the Kindle Fire will be available for under $200. Amazon may actually still be taking a loss at that price, but they’ll more than make up for it by, you guessed it, providing you with their content. Other tablet manufacturers cannot come close to this price, because they have no real way to make up for any sort of loss. Make no mistake; just because it doesn’t have an ultimate top-of-the-line processor and super HD display doesn’t mean there will be any real loss of experience. Most high-end Android device hardware is under utilized as it is. The Kindle has more than enough power to consider it a premium device.

During the Kindle Fire announcement, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We’re building premium products at non-premium prices.” Just one week ago, I was in need of a new HDMI cable. I went to Amazon.com and was surprised to find that Amazon carries their own brand of cables and other home essentials. Normally, a braided HDMI 1.4 cable costs anywhere from $20 to $250 at a big box store. Amazon had one for $5, and that included shipping. I can honestly say the cable I received is a top-of-the line, no sacrifices product. And that’s exactly what the Kindle Fire will be. The iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1 will offer a more in-depth experience; there’s no doubt about it. But the experience that the Kindle Fire offers is more than realistic for the price. Especially since Amazon has no real problem with the Android community modding the Kindle Fire. Which means that someday, the Kindle Fire may actually be a $200 full-featured Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. How’s that for a premium product at a non-premium price?

The Kindle Fire will be the perfect tablet for reading books, watching movies, playing games and browsing the web. It’s the perfect gift for your kids, wife, brother, mother, sister or father. It’s an incredibly cheap learning tool for schools. It has all the content anyone could ever want at a price that is too good to pass up. It’s the first of its kind, and that will show once the holiday season has passed. By that time, everyone you know will either have a Kindle Fire or want one. The best part is: It won’t need a quad-core processor or even Honeycomb to do so. I know I’ll have one. Will you?

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • googler

    Fantastic review, couldn’t agree more! well done

  • Vance

    I pre-ordered one for my Dad last night. Should be here in time for Christmas and just before he deploys to Afghanistan.
    He’ll love it.

    • inviolable

      That’s really cool. Good luck to him.

    • Ahmed

      He might be disappointed because its not a real iPad imho

      • Jasonhunterx

        Im disappointed because you think the iPad is the only good tab

      • Interpol91

        You don’t have to buy an expensive item to show your love for a person.

  • Nate B.

    very good article this made me feel better after i was upset over the lame video of so called IC that I still don’t believe. The content and user experience is very importany. That’s what sales to the customer ultimately. Specs are cool but if they don’t utilize the experience then what does a great display mean? Okay, its fast but what are you doing on it that’s fast and matters? High Mega pixel camera for what? Is everyone a photographer? All those are pluses to the user experience and the ultimate OS. That’s what apple had over Android for a while. Android is pretty much here now and still growing. I believe IC will be all of that.

    • Jim Egan

      cool story bro

  • Manimal

    Right now, I’m looking to get 4 of these as gifts.

  • Phil

    While I think this will sell I think its going to be a flop compared to what some people are thinking. Right now people are excited about content. I’m not so sure what this device can do in terms of using it for work or business. Everyone all of a sudden wants to hate Honeycomb or 2 mins of ICS showing a lock screen and camera (don’t know why people act as if this is a review of the thing). People kick and screen right now because they don’t have the latest version of Android but all of a sudden 2.1 is just what the doctor ordered? The Galaxy Tab was “garbage” because it didn’t have Honeycomb.

    What will happen is that people will be bashing this come XMas and Apple folks will be tearing it apart in terms of functionality, up to date OS, lacking market etc. The best thing this can do IMO is make the other OEMs cut the cameras and maybe a few other things like someone said and bring prices down. But looking at the fact that Amazon may be losing $50/tablet on this the other OEM’s may not be able to lower the price. Amazon is making this up on the content which the other OEMs don’t have.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      A flop compared to what some people are thinking still means it will sell more than any Honeycomb tablet combined.

      • Phil

        More Kindles have sold than Honeycomb tablets combined. If you started Kindle over today it would still outsell them. It doesn’t make them better tablets. Its an eReader…not a tablet. The Fire is an eReader with apps. I don’t think once in the announcement did he call it a tablet or try to compare it to any other tablets. He called it a Kindle. Its a Nook on steroids and thats what I believe they want it to be.

        What I mean by “flop” is that people keep billing this thing as an Android tablet when it isn’t. Its going to be wildly popular as an eReader and extended content device. As a tablet it would be seen as a flop. Now if people are truly buying all these tablets to consume media than they are crazier than I thought. I can pull out my laptop and have an easier time doing that because I don’t have to hold it while on the bed or couch. I see more people now gravitating towards using them in meetings to take notes etc. They are becoming the replacement for paper tablets. For that matter the Samsung Note with the stylus has me much more excited than this….not to mention its also a phone.

        I’m not at all saying the thing isn’t good. I like it for what it is. I’m just saying all this talk about “getting it right” over the other tablet OEMs doesn’t make sense because they aren’t making readers/content devices and Amazon isn’t making tablets.

        • Dustin Earley

          Does it run Android apps?

          • Phil

            A Nook runs apps.

        • mikemick

          The Fire is a tablet. Tell me something that a tablet does that the Fire doesn’t? What makes it not a tablet? What can you do on a first-gen iPad that you can’t do on this?

          • Phil

            Why is a Nook not a tablet? Lets be real here. Its made to do a few specific things. Its geared towards being specialized and not a general computing device. I would not put my money down on this expecting it to be or to remain to be something I can use as a computing device for work and household business. Its a content device and thats what they intend for it to be.

          • mikemick

            Good question. But, I never said the Nook Color wasn’t a tablet. You did. And you keep failing to tell me why both the Fire (and now) the Nook Color aren’t tablets.

            So, again, what does the iPad do, that these devices don’t? Why is the first-gen iPad more “tablet” than these?

    • mikemick

      I don’t look at it as running Android 2.1 (actually, it’s 2.3, right?). I look at it as running Amazon 1.0. Fundamentally it doesn’t appear to do anything similar to Android 2 or 3 from the user-experience.

      If nobody told you that it was running Android, you would never know. Traditional Android OS’s rely heavily on the features of the release, which is why 2.x is junk in today’s world (because it lacks 3.x’s features. This Amazon flavored OS relies very little (from a consumer’s perspective) on the Android version. If it were based on 3.0, it wouldn’t matter (except maybe for some performance optimizations), because it’s irrelevant to the capabilities of this custom OS.

      • daveloft

        Why do people not look at this device not as Android 2.3 and instead Amazon 1.0? Then when it comes to a device like the Samsung Galaxy S which launched with Android 2.1 and Touch Wiz 3 its a flop because it doesn’t have Android 2.3. Why does it matter what version the other OEM’s are running and not Amazon? 99% of the apps from the Android Market work with the Galaxy S wither it runs 2.1, 2.2 or 2.3.

        • mikemick

          I personally don’t care which version the tablet is running. I am answering a question where somebody said 2.1 is garbage, and therefore Fire is garbage.

          You’ve agreed with my points that it doesn’t matter which version of Android the Fire is running (even more-so, because it doesn’t look like Android). Some are considering the new Amazon flavor of Android to be a fork in Android Development because of the radical changes and since it might not possibly go the same route as the rest of Android development from here on out (which is why I referred to it as Amazon 1.0).

          Maybe my comment is being misinterpreted, or I didn’t clearly state what I’m trying to say.

        • mikemick

          It matters because 3.0 is a big difference than 2.0. Just like 2.0 was a big difference than 1.6.

          If TouchWiz was dramatically different from stock Android (like Amazon’s offering), then it wouldn’t matter. I have a HTC Sense product, and while it’s not stock Android, it’s obviously Android. When an Android device get’s a major upgrade (say from 2 to 3) you know it, no matter what “skin/featureset” the manufacturer put on it.

          I’m saying that Amazon’s device could ship with 2.x, get upgraded to 3.x one month after release, and you’d never know it was upgraded because it is so distinct from stock Android.

  • daveloft

    If it’s all about content then why would you want the Kindle Fire?

    If you get an Android tablet with the Android market then you get more choice of content.

    Music: Google Music, Audiogalaxy, Amazon MP3, Rdio, Spotify, Napster, Rhapsody
    Movies & TV: Netflix, Hulu, Google Movies, Amazon Prime through the browser
    Books & Magazines: Google Books, Kindle, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Zinio
    Comics: Comixology, Graphically
    Apps: Android Market, Amazon Appstore, GetJar, SlideMe

    Of the 80 apps I have on my phone, less than 20 off them is available on the Amazon Appstore. So besides the price, why does everyone think this thing is so special?

    • Dustin Earley

      Again, user experience. Not many consumers find downloading and syncing 80 apps fun. The Kindle Fire will be ready to go without having to do much of anything.

      • daveloft

        Well I use Rdio, Netflix, Kobo, Zinio and Comixology. So I wouldn’t have to download 80 apps for that, just 5 and that only takes about a minute. It’s easy enough for anyone to do. I also wouldn’t expect anyone to download everything I listed, but those are the options available to choose from if desired.

        My tablet came with Google Music, Amazon MP3, Google Movies, Google Books, Kindle, Zinio and the Android Market. So for anyone not looking to go download extra apps it has built in options to use.

      • daveloft

        Of course no one thinks downloading apps is fun, it’s a means to an end. Of the 80 apps I have on my Android device, half are games and most aren’t on the Amazon Appstore, but all of them are a lot of fun.

    • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

      You don’t think it will be rooted and optimized with the Android Market?

      • daveloft

        I think it will make a sub par Android device if its rooted and it has stock Android 2.3 installed. No buttons, no physical volume control, no camera, no GPS, only 8GB of storage, no microSD card. There will be plenty of options available for $250 – $300 by Christmas that will do much more out of the box and won’t need to be rooted.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          What other than the Kindle Fire and NookColor2 do you see being decent tablets in the $250-300 range?

          • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

            Read the site much?
            http://androidandme.com/2011/09/news/htc-flyer-price-dropping-to-299/

            I’d take hit… Flyer soars over fire! News at 11.. ;P

          • daveloft

            I said by Christmas there would be plenty of options available. Like the current Acer A100, the Galaxy Tab 7, the just dropped in price HTC Flyer, the soon to be released Archos G9 80, Nook Color 2 and the Kobo Vox. I am also expecting price drops this holiday season with Tegra 2 tablets as the quad core Tegra is coming,

    • mattcoz

      You’re not really the target audience for the Fire, they’re targeting people who want a single go-to place to get all of their content needs. These people don’t want to worry about getting the right app to download the content they want, then later remembering which app it was that had that content, they just want their content. I’m not in this audience either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge audience.

    • mikemick

      You are commenting on the very argument between iOS vs Android. iOS users enjoy a very simple and streamlined ecosystem of products that have been pre-chosen for them. Android flaunts more choice, but at the expense of complexity.

      Amazon is effectively taking the iOS route, but on an Android device. If you are willing embrace the Amazon ecosystem, then everything is streamlined and simple for you.

      Also, now that there will be a dedicated device only representing the Amazon App Market, developers will surely flock to it, especially if that’s where a good portion of the customers are.

    • http://pryvateidz.posterous.com Dave

      True, but for Amazon it’s a great buy because it all ties into ‘their’ services. Nobody has to go to third-parties to get their content, Amazon has you covered. It’s like a 1-shop. That’s why Amazon is bundling this with 1-month free of Amazon Prime. Also, it’s low priced. It’s not being marketed as a tablet, it’s being marketed as a “beefed up kindle”, & nobody cares really what it’s marketed as. They just see “inexpensive”, “Amazon is the s**t, so I’m getting it”, “I can get all my content & use some Android apps.”

      When I 1st heard about it, I was personally against it. Now, I’m VERY tempted. $199, & it’s bundle w/ Amazon service. I have free unlimited Amazon cloud service from Amazon MP3 Cloud Drive. When I buy my music as MP3′s I get it from Android because it’s convenient, affordable & most times I get free mp3 credits, then I have Amazon Prime through Amazon students, Welp…. free Amazon Instant Video-on-Demand (Prime). Amazon Kindle is one of the top e-reader/e-book retailers. So, it’s like win win win. You tie it all into Amazon, that’s why people want it.

      Only thing stopping me is no-camera. I kinda wanted that to video chat, but this is still very tempting. The only thing that’s tempting me away from this is the Archos G9 80.

      • http://pryvateidz.posterous.com Dave

        & let’t not forget it’s VERY easy to get Amazon gift certificates online. Online survey’s, market research communities, etc.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    oh yeah, I accidentally ordered the wrong HDMI cable for my phone (it was the slightly larger HDMI, mini is it vs micro?) from Amazon under the Amazon Basics branding. Felt solid and turns out my DSLR can use it so it wasn’t a waste after all.

  • http://www.nerdstalker.com Nerd Stalker

    I mostly disagree, there have been and are plenty of low cost android tablets all of which have a browser that have been more than capable of going to amazon.com. The consensus has overwhelmingly been that the consumer does not want these devices and for better or worse the iPad has been the benefactor.

    • Phil

      It will sell though for the same reason iPads sell. Amazon is smart. They realized that iPads were first bought by Apple faithful and then by those that wanted to be in the in crowd with this new gadget. Amazon has its faithful Kindle users that will snap this up. Its not good or bad for Android tablets because its sales really have nothing to do with Android.

  • http://gravatar.com/mongbinhthuong mongbinhthuong

    Amazon finally has the Kindle Fire to burn Apple’s greedy butt. I’d like to see the trend that consumers jump to Amazon products in the future.

    • Interpol91

      This will definitely get Android tablet users up there. People who normally wouldn’t buy a tablet because of cost now have an option with the Fire and it will probably further limit any iPad growth.

  • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

    Huh? Dustin… Hrm.. Did you just reprint a PR blurb Amazon sent to you or did you snort the powdered koolaid that came with that HDMI cable order? Sure it’s not the tablet for me, but the above “article” can be taken apart fairly easily. I mean there are a lot of other pro-Fire “reviews” out there, but this one reads poorly; definitely not at the expected A&M level of general competence.

    Ack where to start.. Ok.. I won’t dig in on this one, but the above again reads like bad PR print directly from the ‘zon with even worse speculation by the author. What would be better is if Dustin and A&M gets one in and does a thorough hands on review. The above is just… well the worst, least fact filed article I’ve seen on A&M in quite some time and I’ve been scanning things from the get go. No offense Dustin; it just is…

  • daveloft

    This device will sell well, but it won’t be because of the content, it will be because of the Amazon name and the $200 price.

  • Prophet Nathan

    Prediction – Amazon Firesale will be as successful as Microsoft Zune and Kin.

  • _________(.)(.)____________

    The Amazon app store is a disgrace!

    • Bob

      Yes, but conversely this should be the first android device people can buy that is 100% gauranteed to work with any app the user downloads, which is a big tick beside amazon’s app store in my book

  • kretz

    Did you even read that article?

  • Dirge

    Nice little jab at iTunes syncing. ;D

  • Interpol91

    The Amazon content is definitely one of the things that will make this tablet different and better for some users. As an Amazon Prime Member and Cloud Drive user, I know how good their content is.

    • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

      You mean you like how cheap they discount the content of original app developers, music artists, authors, and film makers? It’s not Amazon’s content they are simply reselling others work. The fact that they heavily squeeze the actual content creators to give you the lowest price is what you like!

  • zee112

    Wow. Amazon doesn’t even mention Andriod in the product description page until the email section. And Amazon Prime works this, too!!

  • SliestDragon

    Me personally, I’m not excited for this tablet…still waiting on the Transformer 2 over here….still, I’d have to be blind to not see how well this thing will do. Good job Amazon.

  • Mark

    It will only sell well because of media outlets overhyping this garbage and the mindless masses lining up because they want the newest Kindle to look “hip”. Barf.

  • vikm

    This thing won’t do anything to the other manufacturers because it’s locked to the US.

  • peacock

    watch and stream yer moviez on it on Wi-Fi. Unlimited slow as hell Spint wifi, where available.

  • Shane Spencer

    I don’t understand why some of you don’t see amazons point…. there is more than a tablet than Apps. Im a android fan, but am really starting to like Amazons (as well as Apple’s) simplicity. Getting books, music, movies from amazon all on one device will be great. 7 inches is nice as well. It’s a tool, and a good one at that. It already has the apps I want. Plus a free app a day….win. If I wasn’t in school I’d totally get one. Christmas time baby.

    • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

      This is not directed at you personally. It’s my general opinion on Amazon.

      I dunno I get Amazon’s point. The Fire and integrated experience is a brilliant strategy. The ecosystem lock in that it will finally cement is fantastic as they and the consumer wins. I was so turned off though especially with the note that appears on the main Amazon.com site right now:

      “There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.”

      Translation for the consumer blinder impaired from the content creator & sizable amount of Amazon employees perspective:

      “We work really hard to fuck as many of our employees and content producers as possible to charge you less.”

      Personally I find this “mission statement” revolting. It’s such a loaded statement and BS from what I’d consider a noble company; one that treats every stage of production to content creation to the consumer fairly w/ dignity and respect. Amazon is not that company.

      Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have an Amazon Prime account, but as things go I am avoiding the Amazon lock in they seek to produce as far as consumer mentality is concerned.

  • muadhnate

    Those who think this will not do well, likely are among those who thought the kindle would not do well. Based on the kindle’s success, I predict that this will be a hit. I can browse the web, read a book/textbook, play my music and play games if I want. And it’s the perfect size when held. As long as they didn’t skimp on e-ink technology, It will do well with current kindle customers as well. Let’s face it, content wise, only Amazon can really compete with Apple. Google is just not there yet.

    There are some things missing for me, namely google apps, but for most people this would be perfect for $200. And frankly, for $200 I’m likely to pick some up for multiple people including myself. But I need to get my hands on one to see what it will actually be like before I buy. So I’ll be waiting until November.

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