Amazon’s Kindle Fire: Where Apps are Just Content
After its November 15 release, Amazon‘s new Kindle Fire tablet likely will be the first mainstream competitor to the Apple iPad. But Amazon is taking the opposite approach in designing and marketing the product from their Cupertino rival.
Besides the obvious differences of size and price, notice the different angles Amazon and Apple take when promoting the features of their respective tablets. Here’s the most recent television commercial for the iPad:
For Apple, what’s special about the iPad is tied up in its apps. In the space of 30 seconds, they showcase eight different apps used for a variety of purposes. Most of the depicted apps were built by third-party developers and may not appeal to more than a fraction of iPad owners. Not everyone wants to practice calligraphy, play the piano, or learn about the human skeleton. But that’s fine – there are over 100,000 different apps.
The company’s own iBooks app makes an appearance, but only to showcase the dictionary feature of the app itself. Apple doesn’t even mention its e-book library or iTunes store for content. Content exists within, and is subservient to, the app. You can see the same theme present in another ad from earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Amazon hasn’t run any television ads for the Kindle Fire yet. But they have released a promotional video:
“Enjoying your content should be simple and easy. One touch gives you instant access to Amazon’s massive content library, including over 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, magazines, and books.”
Did you catch the difference? Amazon portrays apps as “content” equivalent to other downloadable entertainment. And if you look closely, the video shows off a tablet interface in which “Apps” is just another tab side-by-side with “Newsstand”, “Books”, “Music”, “Video”, “Docs”, and “Web”. Compared to Apple’s approach, in which all other content is bought, viewed, and manipulated within apps themselves, this is a somewhat radical departure.
And it’s a re-thinking of the device that might actually work. The horde of Android manufacturers aren’t making headway against the iPad with similar designs and app stores that can’t compare in breadth of choice. By differentiating the Kindle Fire away from its relative weakness in apps, and toward its strength selling videos, music, and books, Amazon might be able to stake out its own sizable chunk of the tablet market.