Will You Buy a Kindle Fire?

Today is the day. Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire officially launches today, even if shipments got a little bit of a head start.

The tablet market feels like it's an old friend, when in reality it's still incredibly nascent. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) kicked off the iPad in April 2010, so we're just barely past the one-and-a-half-year mark. The Kindle Fire has garnered mixed early reviews, with some praising its compelling value proposition for its impulsively tempting $199 price tag. Some see it as a viable threat to the iPad, while others put it in a category of its own.

While Apple may always be the tablet leader, it can't hold on to a 75% market share forever, especially with how quickly the market is growing. Plus, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) hasn't even entered the picture yet with its promising Windows 8 OS.

Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS  ) Nook Color has occupied the lower-end price spectrum for a while at $249, and the first-generation model is being bumped to $199 as its new Nook Tablet, which also runs Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android, will hold down the $249 spot.

The tablets that have gone head-to-head with the iPad on price have fallen short, including the Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) Xoom and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBook. Apple has now sold a cumulative total of almost 40 million units since launch, while the Xoom has seen 790,000 shipments and only 700,000 PlayBooks have shipped. Take note that Apple reports sales, while Motorola and RIM report shipments.

Can Amazon succeed? The massive e-tailer has tricks up its sleeve that other non-Apple tablet makers can't match. While Apple even thinks the Kindle Fire will boost iPad sales due to continued fragmentation of the platform, Amazon has the capability to replicate Apple's integrated strategy.

Amazon has content down pat with Amazon Prime, which continues to grow, and MP3 store and cloud storage. It has its own Android Appstore and the Fire is sparking massive interest among developers. The Fire's forked version of Android is so unrecognizable that it's differentiated from its brethren. CEO Jeff Bezos has already said Amazon is building "millions more" of the devices.

Just about the only thing that the Fire doesn't have going for it is hardware. There has been talk that Amazon was in a time crunch to get the Fire out for the holiday shopping season, so it tapped Quanta as a shortcut, and it may have tapped iPad manufacturer Foxconn for the second generation. The second-generation hardware is rumored to have a 10-inch display and feature NVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) quad-core Tegra 3.

The Kindle Fire is on track to receive a warm welcome to the tablet market, and be the best Android tablet out there to date.

Will the Kindle Fire truly be the best Android tablet so far? Are you buying one? Or are you waiting for the iPad 3? Let us know in the comments section below. Add Amazon to our free watchlist service to stay updated as the tablet hits the market.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (33) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 1:15 PM, LyfordJr wrote:

    I'll certainly have one eventually, but with a new HTC Hero and a Kindle that's less than a year old, it won't be right now. But I've been an Amazon customer (and stockholder) for a long time, and I have four kindles in my house already, and a huge library, and there's no way that I won't eventually have a Kindle fire. Or more than one...

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 1:16 PM, wjwjwj wrote:

    This holiday season the Kindle Fire is going to dominate the demographic of parents who always get the wrong thing for their kids

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 1:18 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    (Shhh.) I have already ordered one for my wife for Christmas.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 1:45 PM, louisfool wrote:

    I pre-ordered a Kindle Fire and it will be here tomorrow. My wife has a Nook so now we will have a Kindle too. I also wanted to get into the Android environment since I decided iPhone over an Android based phone recently. We'll probably also get an iPad at some point...it's just too good of a gadget to resist.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 1:54 PM, leonhart03 wrote:

    Definitely not. Nook Tablet is much better equipped for what I want. Not to mention they've already had a tablet device out for a year, so they have that much more ground covered as far as addressing bugs, defects in manufacturing, etc. The Fire is entirely new, so I'm sure there will be loads of introductory problems, like any other 1st gen products. Sure, I imagine they've tested it out for months, but it'll be nothing compared to the [enter inflated amount here] people using it all at once when they launch. I'm eager to see some real reviews on both devices, so I can get an actual opinion from a consumer, instead of the news reporters spouting numbers that Amazon never really discloses.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 2:35 PM, chopchop0 wrote:

    AMZN has cheapened the kindle fire so much, I don't see the point. Spend $100 more and get a real fully-functional android tablet that still has access to AMZN's content, including the app store. The Acer Iconia A500, Motorola Xoom or ASUS transformer are much better buys IMO, with features such as expandable storage, a larger screen, USB port, and HDMI/micro HDMI connectivity.

    For $100 more, it's completely worth it, not to mention the fact that you won't be hobbled by AMZN's watered down android that does not have access to the android market for apps.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 2:42 PM, dewyge wrote:

    Two have been back ordered for a month or more for family members at Christmas who like to read and watch movies. I have had the Ipad-1 for the past year and love it.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 2:49 PM, uaku wrote:

    No I would not buy it

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 2:58 PM, foolindeed1 wrote:

    Here's a part of  one of the first Kindle Fire reviews that actually receives the device (Gizmodo):

    "the Fire is very responsive, most of the time. Most of the time, yes. But when it's not, it's awful. There's  absolutely no excuse for a machine with these guts to be unable to turn pages with zero lag. It has two cores, for Chrissake. What are they being used for? Lag is, other than using your tablet to bludgeon someone to death, the worst possible sin of portable computing. Unfortunately, the Fire is probably cursed with the same blood as every other Android device that can't manage to run a mile without tripping over its laces"

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 4:13 PM, Nascar2011 wrote:

    I already have the iPad2 and havent fully explored all its treasures. I had the Kindle but gave it to a friend I ordered the Kindle Fire but it wont arrive till Wednesday. I really liked the original Kindle and will be using the Fire mostly for reading.

    Will post again after I have had the Kindle Fire for a few weeks. I don't expect to be disappointed in it

    Nascar 2011

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 5:28 PM, Doris411 wrote:

    I'm waiting for some reliable reviews, but it is sort of tempting. I own a lot of .epub titles; and they claim the Fire will read both formats.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 5:29 PM, mawall wrote:

    I'm no Techy, but Ive been interested in the plain 'ol vanilla flavored Kindle just for reading- didn't get one though.... When I got an e-mail from Amazon touting the FIRE I was hooked-supposed to be here by Saturday- we'll see

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 5:32 PM, Risky88 wrote:

    I think my laptop and cellphone do just fine for all my needs.

    The things we own, eventually own us.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 5:38 PM, PSU69 wrote:

    My Samsung Galaxy Tab (Android based) is amazing. Why did you not show Samsung in your comparison? APPL and Samsung are in a global patent litigation because Samsung provides a tab that is $199 and kicks the iPad's butt in so many ways, especially if you jet around the planet as I do. Discover the iPad data rates when you travel! Yikes! Droid rocks and I am very happy. In fact, I just bought a new Samsung Galaxy for my attorney as a gift. I now have over 20 books on it. They download with one click from Amazon. And page turning is simple. Great features for bookmarking and lots of wonderful info! I am sold. Disclosure, I own GOOG & APPL.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 6:18 PM, 940ml wrote:

    Look friends...the Amazon Fire is NOT just another tablet it is high tech access to the world's largest public mall. It has the Kindle as icing on the cake if you want to kill time and read all the book and media available. You can buy almost anything at Amazon and that is just what Jeff Bezos wants you to do. As a stock holder I want everyone who has a Fire to do just that. If you're thinking about buying something, then use your Fire to do it. Stop going round and round about the Fire vs. the Ipad. The point is all about access to the universe of Amazon.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 6:30 PM, TMFNewCow wrote:

    @PSU69,

    I wanted to include the Galaxy Tab in the comparison, although Samsung hasn't announced any official figures. Earlier in the year they had mentioned 2 million units "shipped," but without a more accurate and up to date source, I opted not to include them. I'd be very curious to how many they have sold and shipped also.

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 6:43 PM, PSU69 wrote:

    Evan, PLNR has a great arrangement with Samsung. My magna cum laude son is in PLNR. Being Korean, it may be challenging to get their real data for shipments, yet a follow up article showing their results might be very interesting to those of us who do global biz. Personally, I would rather give tablets to all the sales people rather than pay bar bills! They are just so powerful and so inexpensive. They free you from your PC and heavy laptops. Just returned form a week in Las Vegas without a laptop. tablets are amazing. I prefer my tablet over reading the tiny cell phone screen!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 6:53 PM, EnzymeX wrote:

    I bought the Fire as a "Kindle Upgrade", and I suspect many folks will do the same. Only $199, and the most versatile Kindle ever - what great marketing! I stopped caring about specs a long time ago. I just want devices that work, and in that respect, I think the Amazon ecosystem can give Apple a run for it's money.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 7:54 PM, gwendt01 wrote:

    Amazon screwed me on the KindleDX and my iPad is so much more useful. I won't be purchasing a Fire.

    I'm waiting for the iPad3 - bet it's only 4 -5 months away.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 8:05 PM, leonhart03 wrote:

    @Doris - Don't hold your breath on those .epubs. Amazon has made it pretty clear that Kindles, in whatever shape and model, will never read epub format. It's all part of the plan to lock you into a single source of content.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2011, at 10:47 PM, Beavers65 wrote:

    Definitely will buy the 2nd generation Kindle Fire with the 10 inch screen. I'm a current Kindle DX owner x 2 years and love it...Amazon gave me great service 1 year ago when I needed a replacement for an unusual screen problem. They overnighted a new DX with no questions asked!!!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 12:51 AM, TurbulentTime wrote:

    I love the iPad2. I need to type other languages often and the iPad2 is so easy that, for example, for Chinese, one does not have to use Pin Yin, just write down with your finger one part of the word, and the rest will be shown with a few other similar words for your to choose. So simple. I have read nowhere that say the Kinkle Fire can do the same.

    Some people here suggest using Samsung Galaxy. I have seen many people in Asian countries try to buy that since that one is cheaper than iPad. However, I have no dependable review from anywhere for the same use that I need for my iPad2. For now, I stict with iPad2, may be until the iPad3 will be out.

    By the way, the Kinkle Fire is like 7 inch screen? Good luck. I will not buy this 1st gen Fire, may be next time when they have a bigger screen. May be this 1gen Fire for kids is okay.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 2:30 AM, MichaelDSimms wrote:

    I bought a Kindle for my son and it is awesome. I will hold off on the Fire, although my wife is hinting that she needs a Tablet of some sort. So maybe.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 6:22 AM, meddguy wrote:

    Already bought one!

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 7:14 AM, kariku wrote:

    no

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 8:29 AM, cherylb1003 wrote:

    Preordered a Fire, then cancelled it. I questioned the potential privacy issues with their cloud and like to read epub.

    I got a Vizio tablet a couple of months ago so I could go on vacation without a bunch of paperbacks. The price is now below $150. It's not fancy, not particularly skinny - but it does what I need it to do, has access to the android (and Amazon) app market, hulu + and netflix can run on it (but not Prime). Technical support has been great and it's convenient to bring with me where ever I have to wait.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 9:16 AM, LaciFrerrtani wrote:

    Why buy it when you can't use it for Skype? I mean hello? At least make sure it has a camera and a mic. My mom wants to get me this for Christmas and I'm like why? I want Coby Kyros I can do way more on it then this. Sorry Amazon you're gonna have to put a camera and a mic before I even begin to even want it.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 10:05 AM, lobec wrote:

    Yes I pre-ordered mine and am looking forward to using it. The iPad is too expensive and includes things I don't need (a lame camera, mic, etc...). Note: I own stock in both companies.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 10:12 AM, maxxhomesmn wrote:

    I pre ordered the fire and am anxiously waiting for it's arrival. I could have bought one yesterday at Best Buy so I know they are shipping.

    maxhomesmn

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2011, at 12:06 PM, in2makemoney wrote:

    Pre-ordered on the first day of announcement. Got shipping notification that it would arrive this friday.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2011, at 4:18 PM, xlentle4u wrote:

    I will wait for the Ipad3 and decide then, did not like the B&N compared to iPad 1, it was lame

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2011, at 3:03 AM, XMFTheGuruEbby wrote:

    Bought one yesterday. Still deciding if I like it. I just wasn't ready to spend more money for an iPad. Someday I might.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2011, at 3:39 AM, benyboy wrote:

    iPad are just cool

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