With the announcement of the Kindle Fire Tablet this week (, we can officially say that the convergence of cloud + mobile is underway.  These worlds have traditionally been separated with the cloud being about virtualizing services and data sources so they can be accessible anywhere, and mobile being about getting services and data onto devices for users on the go.  But now, we are seeing the multiplier effect of having services/data in the cloud and being able to easily access those same data/services on any device on the go.  With better speeds available from wireless networks like 802.11n and HSPA/LTE, more services/content accessible via html5 in the browser, and faster processing on the back-end via in-memory technologies, we can now get more functionality with simpler devices.   Amazon can do this better than anyone with their ability to optimize their content in the cloud and even network performance via their edge caching technology.  The result is a $199 tablet set-up to compete with a $499 iPad-2 with access to the full range of Amazon content, the convenience/loyalty of Amazon Prime, and access to both the Amazon and Android App stores.  The Kindle Cloud Reader app (  gave a glimpse of what html5 could do achieving a quality comparable to a native app with offline functionality.  And certainly from a business model perspective, this all make sense for Amazon to increase their leadership position in retail and published content.

However, before we call Kindle Fire "the iPad killer", we need to point at the areas where the Fire will have trouble competing with the iPad.

1) The Andoid and Amazon app stores are still fairly anemic versus the iTunes store in terms of quality apps.  While the total number of apps is similar (somewhere over 400,000 each), Apple still has about a 10X lead in the quality and number of paid apps.
2) The real advantages only work when the devices is connected to Amazon Content (optimized for the Silk browser and leveraging Amazon Cloud storage/caching).  For all other content/services, the tablet may perform no better that any other low cost Android tablet.
3) This is not an enterprise device.  And even though Apple with tell you the iPad is not designed for enterprises, it is taking the enterprise market by storm because of the ability to push-out, control and secure apps, access to 3G networks, and the ability to access a full suite of sensors the iPad-2 offers (front-back cameras, GPS, accel, etc.).  The Kindle Fire does not have any of these sensors to support a broad range of enterprise use cases (like reporting quality issues in the field, providing location aware content push, or 2-way video collaboration).

So while the debate today is over which one will dominate the market, the real conversion should be around how the Fire may disrupt Apple's content play and pricing for consumers.  The pressure to role out iCloud just got more intense as Amazon bundles in cloud storage for free with the Fire.  But for now, the iPad and its look-alike Android challengers will be driving the enterprise opportunity until Kindle Fire offers some of the ket features and control large enterprises will require.
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This page contains a single entry by Scott A. Snyder published on October 2, 2011 3:25 PM.

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