Kindle Fire hits spot with consumers

Kindle FirePA

Last week's launch of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet computer dominated the tech sector headlines. Five days on, it's possible to gauge how consumers have reacted and the news is pretty positive for Amazon. It's the price, $199, that has generated most enthusiasm. But there are privacy concerns.
Social media analytics firm SocialNuggets examined over 11,000 comments made on social media platforms about the Kindle Fire, and found the number of people intending to buy a Kindle Fire outnumbering those who wouldn't by about 2:1.

The price garnered most enthusiasm, tying in with research from Immr which showed pricing below $300 would open up the tablet market to mass adoption. And consumers don't seem too concerned that the Kindle Fire does not have a camera, a missing feature some tech analysts thought might matter.

Brand loyalty
The SocialNuggets research also reveals that slightly more people see the Kindle Fire as serious competition for other tablets than as a competitor to Apple's iPad. That suggests the brand loyalty to Apple will remain a strong factor, as is the running of separate device ecosystems.

There's some concern expressed about the privacy implications of Amazon's new Silk web browser. It will feed through Amazon's servers and so will be able to build up a detailed picture of what you are looking at and buying. Whether people are happy to trade off some privacy for convenience is one of the big questions in mobile commerce.

Our coverage of the launch and analysis of what it all meant drew heavy traffic and plenty of comments. Many of you welcomed the fact that Apple's iPad now has a real competitor, but a frequent complaint was 'why is the Kindle Fire not being made available in the UK?'

Copyright law
UK copyright law currently prevents copying digital media from one format to another – what's called 'format-shifting'. It is legal in the US. The UK Government is looking at changing the law, and there's simply too much money to be made for a deal not to be struck. Until it is, there will be no UK launch for the Kindle Fire. But the wait will probably not be long.

Amazon is also updating its range of Kindle devices, with a new entry-level device which will be available in the UK. This will cost $79, but £89 in the UK – prompting accusations of a "rip-off" on our comments forum. But the cheaper US price comes because it carries adverts, while the UK version does not.

New customers
My view is that Amazon will spend time building its share in a newly-expanded market, bring new tablet customers on stream. Rights holders and the big tech companies will strike a mutually beneficial deal that allows global access across devices. And new versions of the Kindle Fire will add functionality.

For now, Amazon and apple do not need to go head-to-head in a commercial war. But there will be more skirmishes as both look to sign up content and outdo each others' offer. The next skirmish comes on Wednesday. Apple has called a conference at which it's rumoured the iPhone is to be unveiled.
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