Other than a Windows 7 laptop at work and an Amazon Echo at home, I live exclusively in Apple’s ecosystem — iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Time Capsule. I am very happy living in Apple’s walled garden. Life is good. I had no interest in any other devices, Android or otherwise.
Then Amazon announced a new 7″ tablet, the Kindle Fire, priced at $49.99. Its operating system, Fire OS 5, is built with Android Lollipop and then customized to integrate with Amazon’s content and cloud services. For the price, you get a pretty nice tablet:
- 7″ display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600)
- VGA front-facing camera
- 2 MP rear-facing HD camera
- 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
- 8 GB internal storage
- Add up to 128 GB of storage with a microSD card
- Wi-fi only
- Free, unlimited storage for Amazon content
I watch videos on my iPad mini (mostly TV shows or Netflix) but use it mostly to play games. What caught my eye with the Amazon Fire is that it gives me access to Amazon Underground. Amazon has established a new monetization model with Amazon Underground — apps are free and Amazon pays developers based on how much time their app is used. According to Amazon, over $10,000 in apps, games and in-app items are free. Amazon Underground is available in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Does the Amazon Fire have the potential to hurt the sale of Apple’s iPad mini? At $49.99, I don’t see how it couldn’t. The iPad mini 2 is currently the cheapest iPad mini and is priced at $269. While it isn’t on the same playing field as the iPad mini specification-wise, either is its price. This is definitely in the range of an impulse buy for many people. Also, if you have small children or grandchildren, this could be a hot item for the holidays. For a relatively small price, you could look pretty cool to them.
Amazon is accepting pre-orders with shipments starting on September 30th. If you decide that you might want to take the plunge and are considering buying more than one tablet, Amazon has a buy 5 get 1 free offer, bringing the unit cost down to just shy of $42.
Each of my three family members, who also live in Apple’s walled garden, are getting an Amazon Fire as well. Will we find that the Amazon Fire has a place in our device repertoire? Time will tell. But, at $49.99, it’s definitely worth a look.