Stop, Drop, and Roll — the Kindle is on Fire!

So the Kindle Fire has been announced, followed by the iPhone 5 – no wait, the 4S, and we’ve got Google, RIM, Nokia and everyone else lining up for their shot at end-of-year/pre-shopping killer announcements.

Of course the iPhone 5iPhone 4S killed them all, but that’s not surprising and hardly worth debating. Nothing to talk about there. I mean it was a coin-toss any ways, it’ll either be the “4S” or the “5” so you had a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

The real fun is in the Android camp, much more fertile ground for rumours and wild speculation and spectacular changes! Unless you’re the morbid type and like to watch a dying turtle spinning around on it’s back desperately trying to flip-over and catch-up to the hare(s), in that case head over to RIM or Nokia.

Now I’ve been saying this all along:

Why is a 10.1″ tablet two to three times as expensive as a 10.1″ netbook!?

When HP axed the TouchPad and began selling off stock for $99 they created a sensation that rivalled the iPad’s!!! People were lining up to buy a TouchPad, over night!!! Now the TouchPad is good hardware, and WebOS is a great platform, but it’s not an iPad so you can’t sell it like an iPad. You can’t charge $600 and only provide some of the iPad experience.

Hopefully the other tablet pedlars saw what was happening. I know one did: RIM (believe it or not) because you can now buy a Playbook for a mere $300 (that “mere” was sarcasm, $99 would be a more appropriate price). And perhaps Toshiba did too because you can get a 10.1″ Thrive for $380 (still a bit much, but certainly no where near $600).

Now whether Amazon learned from HP’s experience or if they had already figured it out I don’t know, but they’ve done two things right:

  1. Price for Kindle Fire: $200 – not $600; and
  2. Experience: you get the Kindle Fire experience – not some nebulous Android experience with a cutesy/buggy UI layer on top.

And $200 is not a cheap tablet. Admittedly an analyst said this (and people don’t seem to like analysts these days) but apparently Amazon is making a pretty decent margin on the Fire, around 25%!!! The article is at Light Read Mobile and contains a breakdown of components and a comparison to other tablets.

The other manufacturers had better learn fast. And Google had better throw some weight around. Amazon doesn’t need Android, they’re not selling Android, they’re selling Amazon & the Kindle all bundled up in a neat package called the Fire.

But Android needs Amazon, or something like it.

Amazon is not about to invite anyone else to join them at their own private trough – the combination of low price and great content is what is going to bring people to the Fire (and a hopefully upcoming 10″ tablet) so Amazon would be crazy to share their strategy with the competition!

Google has to do a better job a selling the Google experience. Of course the manufacturers won’t like this – they want you to buy HTC or Motorola or Samsung, not Google. But I’ve said this before too:

No one is going to beat Apple going head-on! But by combining their forces (behind Android) they can stay ahead.
If you make your money selling devices (like HTC, Motorola, et al.) then leave the experience part to someone else (Google).

Cross-posted on Schultzter’s blog at Stop, Drop, and Roll — the Kindle is on Fire!