Amazon on Wednesday unveiled the tablet the tech world has been waiting months to see: the Amazon Kindle Fire. We covered Amazon’s press conference live and went hands-on with the Kindle Fire as well, and our initial impressions are relatively positive. The sleek slate is portable, it’s affordable and it offers deep integration with all of the Amazon services we know and love. At the same time, the Kindle Fire could easily be caught in no man’s land. Despite the buzz on various tech blogs over the past few weeks, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White says the Amazon Kindle Fire is most definitely not an “iPad killer.” In fact, as BGR Editor-in-chief Jonathan Geller suggested during an appearance on CNBC on Wednesday afternoon, Amazon’s new tablet might not even really be an iPad competitor at all. Read on for more.
“We believe the Kindle Fire addresses a different market than the iPad 2, a tablet-light user on a tight budget that may not have yet purchased a tablet or already use a Kindle,” White wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday. “Hardly an iPad killer as has been written about in the weeks leading up to this morning’s event. Our initial take on the ‘Kindle Fire’ is that the product lacks the enhanced capabilities, aesthetics, power and rich features found on the iPad 2, which is why the price point of $199 is below the $499 entry point for the iPad 2.”
White also finds the size of the slate to be an issue, but he says the biggest points of differentiation lie in Apple’s design prowess and its drive to innovate in the emerging tablet market. “We believe Apple’s long history as both a hardware and software company will continue to drive greater technological innovation in the tablet market versus Amazon. Also, the aesthetics of the Kindle Fire seem tired to us and clearly pale in comparison with the iPad 2.”
White reiterates that there is definitely a market for Amazon’s Kindle Fire as an affordable option for light users, but it is “not the market that Apple is addressing.” Apple shipped 9.25 million iPad tablets last quarter and the company is expected to beat that figure handily in its fiscal fourth quarter, which it will report in mid-October.