Tablets are still in that vague “do I really need one?” zone for me. They seem pretty cool, and I’d love to have one to play with. But I spend more time than most people on my real computer, and thanks to Sprint’s unlimited data plan, my phone covers my away-from-computer needs. So a tablet is nowhere near a necessity.
As the rumors began last week about the Amazon tablet, I asked my wife at what price would a tablet become an impulse buy. Obviously, I didn’t mean like when you buy a magazine for $2.95 at the checkout line in the supermarket. I meant, at what price would you consider a tablet, even though it’s a luxury, not a necessity. She said maybe $150-200.
Since the rumored price of the Amazon tablet varied, with the lowest predictions being around $299 with perks, and since I really had no reason to get a tablet except for Boys with Toys syndrome, I figured she was right, and that this tablet wouldn’t be for me.
So today, the big announcement came. It’s called the Kindle Fire, and it will cost $199.
JR Raphael said some of the things that crossed my mind:
Amazon's Kindle Fire may be based on Android, but it is not an "Android tablet" in the way we normally think of the term. If you're expecting the full-fledged tablet experience, you may be in for a disappointment. …
[T]his isn't to say the Amazon Kindle Fire is a bad device; it's just a different kind of device than what most of us envision when we hear the term "tablet." Ultimately, it's a media consumption slate that also runs some apps and has a Web browser -- a gadget that falls somewhere between an e-reader/media player and a fully functional Android tablet. …
All considered, if you're looking for a simple slate with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface -- and affordable price -- Amazon's Kindle Fire may be an interesting new option. But if you want the kind of experience and versatility you see on other tablets, you're probably looking in the wrong place. Make no mistake about it: For all practical purposes, the Kindle Fire is an Amazon media device, not a Google Android tablet. We're talking about a whole new platform.
What is odd, at least to me, is that the above makes a lot of sense, yet it also explains why I’ve already pre-ordered a Kindle Fire. As I told my wife, what has convinced me is precisely that it lacks many functions I expected. The price is right, and it doesn't really duplicate stuff my phone does. It leaves my phone to do what it does best, and takes the Amazon “experience” and does it better than my phone does.
I still don’t know what I’d do with a tablet. But I do know what I’ll do with a Kindle Fire, and I know that I won’t expect it to be a “real” tablet. I suspect, come November, if people ask me if I have a tablet, the correct answer will be, “no, I have a Kindle.”