The Fire has an opportunity to reshape the tablet market in several obvious -- and a few less obvious -- ways as I see it:
- The price point is clearly very important, the Fire -- at $200 -- doesn't seem merely designed to take on the iPad but to actually open up a new sector of the market.
- Keeping the content in the cloud rather than on the device is also quite new in the tablet space, although Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is also moving in that direction with iCloud. It could start to give tablets a role as a central content management device that syncs with smaller smartphones and bookmarks video on larger devices. Having a Wi-Fi device that's constantly connected to the cloud could also start to show some weaknesses in public hotspot networks, particularly if these Fire tablets become popular.
- You're also likely to see some of the "split-browsing" concepts used to speed up the Amazon Silk browser turn up on other vendors' devices over time. The browser learns user preferences as you surf the Web and splits the computational tasks between the device software and Amazon's massive server farm, speeding up page rendering. Of course, having a massive server farm in the first place may well be a barrier to entry for some mobile vendors.
Let me know if you're getting an Amazon Fire, and write in with your impressions.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile