Even though estimated pre-order sales already set the Kindle Fire up to be not only the most successful Android tablet to come out so far, but most successful tablet in general, Apple still seems to think the device won’t make a dent in the industry.
Barclays Group analyst Ben Reitzes recently sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and according to him, the Apple execs say the Kindle Fire adds to the fragmentation of Android, which “could drive more consumers to the stable Apple platform.” He continues on to say, “while compatible with Android, the Apps work with Amazon products.” This leads Apple to the thought, “the more fragmentation, the better.” The way I see it, Apple is missing out on four key areas that will help the Kindle Fire to become one of the top tablets to ever hit the market.
In the note where Reitzes mentions Apple’s feelings on the Kindle Fire, he also mentions that price is still a threat and that Apple will have to compete with a cheaper product eventually. No matter how you look at it, right now you can buy a full-featured tablet from a trusted name brand company for $300 less than Apple’s cheapest offerings. That will make a huge difference to consumers. Enough so that any custom version of Android the Fire is running won’t affect sales.
The Kindle Fire is running Android, that’s a fact. But the little green guy is hidden behind the scenes in the Kindle Fire. Amazon isn’t calling the Fire an Android tablet, even though it really is; it’s just a Kindle. And it just so happens to run some popular apps that other Android tablets can also run. Don’t be surprised if most consumers who buy the Kindle Fire don’t even know it’s running Android. It’s all about the Kindle.
Apple should know by now how important product names are. And the Kindle Fire’s gives it the edge. I’m not talking about “Fire” (I actually think they could have done better there), I’m talking about “Kindle.” Much like iAnything, Kindle is a trusted name. Kindles are the best selling ereaders of all time. They’ve become a household name in the way that Kleenex and Droid have. Have you ever heard someone say they have a Nook Kindle? I have. Because the Kindle is the best of its kind. And it’s everywhere.
Perhaps the biggest driving force behind the Kindle Fire will be availability. The price, OS and name won’t matter much if you won’t be able to see all of that in person. Sure, the Kindle Fire is backed by the world’s largest online retailer, but it will also be available in every store that can get their hands on it. Best Buy, Target, Wal Mart, you name it. When consumers see the Fire, and how it runs all these great apps, and how it’s $300 cheaper than the iPad but still a name-brand product, that is what will drive sales of the Kindle Fire through the roof.
No “fragmented” OS is going to stop that combo. Especially when you barely even know it’s there.