Sep 282011
 

To understand why I think Amazon’s Fire will absolutely crush the Android tablet market, it helps to look at what both Google and Amazon bring to the tablet market.

The premise for Google’s Android started as a means of milking mobile device users for ad revenue. It was accomplished by knocking off Apple’s superior interface using stolen code from Java. The ends justified the means. With tablets, Google mistook the artificial market dominance it was handed by Apple’s exclusivity with AT&T – and competing carriers’ and manufacturers’ desperation – for success. They looked at the iPad and thought they could apply the same model to tablets. But with no exclusive carrier relationship to exploit, no desperate carriers and no subsidies, Android tablets have been a running joke.

Compare this with Amazon’s approach to making a tablet: the end is a more logical product of the means. Amazon took things it does well – books, movies and cloud computing – and used only as much hardware as they needed to deliver it at a jaw-dropping price. They took pains not to characterize the Fire as “an Android tablet” and it’s not meant to compete with the iPad, regardless of how badly the pathetic tech press wants to characterize it that way.

Deciding between a high-end Android tablet and an iPad? You’ll going make the same decision that made punchlines out of the XOOM, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Streak, PlayBook and TouchPad. Deciding between a Fire and an iPad? Sure, there might be some people who will purchase a Fire, but Apple’s device is much more than a storefront for media – it’s the app powerhouse that the Fire could never be, not just because of the limitations of the Android market itself, but the hardware driving the Fire experience restricts it.  Deciding between a Fire and a XOOM? I would argue that its superior integration with what Amazon does well combined with being “just enough” of an Android tablet and its absurdly low price will capture 9/10 of the people looking to buy a tablet that doesn’t have an Apple inscribed on the back.

Sep 282011
 

So Amazon’s big event in New York has come and gone and it’s left Apple’s competitors with a lot to think about – and maybe a thing or two for Apple to contemplate as well. While I agree that people looking to read books will look to the Kindle – like they always have – the iPad is still the device to beat. The “people who want to run Android on a tablet” aren’t consumers, they’re contrarians.

OK: it’s possible that I’m being obtuse and blindly supportive of the iPad here. Let’s take Jeff Bezos touted advantages of the Fire and see where the device stands in relation to its Android brethern:

  • $199

People making a 7″ tablet, like Dell and their (Bacon) Streak, will knock $100 of the price of the WiFi-only model and people will get their dual cameras, multi-touch and GPS.

  • Cross-device syncing and Whispersync for movies.

According the ads I see for devices like the Droid Bionic, not only can I “control all machines” (proving once again how utterly fucking retarded Verizon thinks its customers are), I can wirelessly sync my content. iOS 5 will also allow wireless syncing. Whispersync for movies would be cooler if it was used for actual downloads, but remembering media locations across devices is a nice touch. The fact that several TVs, such as the Vizio Via line, also feature Amazon’s Instant Video app, which provides a healthy level of pre-release device saturation.

  • The browser experience has a cloud back-end: Amazon Silk.

Now we’re talkin’. Because I have no standing in the tech press community and have a day job I have to hold down, I haven’t seen how Amazon’s “fat pipes” benefit the browsing experience first-hand, but as my favorite scoundrel once said “I can imagine quite a bit”. Amazon geeks: tell us what it’s all about…

No hands-on takeaway: it’ll be balls-out fast, but the same people who were pissed about Amazon taking highlighted passage data from ebooks and aggregating it – or anyone who’s got a bugaboo about Big Brother – will absolutely hate it.

In the end, I think this may affect some of the population who is trying to decide whether or not to buy an iPad, but not a lot of them. What it does do is pretty much Hulk-smash the Android tablet market, especially if Amazon decides to release a 10″ edition. It’s not an iPad, but it will offer a better media consumption experience for people wanting a little more than what the Kindle offers.

Sep 282011
 

I remember reading that Microsoft made more money from licensing agreements related to Android than it did from its own Windows Phone 7. Now another shrimp is grilling on the barbie. Samsung, the largest maker of Android phones, is now the 7th manufacturer to agree to some sort of license deal with Microsoft, leaving soon-to-be-acquired Motorola as the only major player still in Redmond’s sights. As FOSS Patent’s Florian Mueller points out, this makes it pretty clear that Samsung doesn’t have faith that Googlerola is the answer to its prayers, while also making the likelihood of Google having to ante up to Microsoft for its blushing bride a certainty.

I guess “Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem” doesn’t reflect Samsung’s deep commitment to sit around and wait for it to happen.

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