There is a ton of hype surrounding this new device. Then there's all the shameless headlines claiming this device will take on Apple's iPad just for page views. Finally you have what must be obviously a serious gamble on the part of Amazon releasing a $200 Android tablet at what is probably cost.
Does Amazon have the content to back up handing these things out for virtually no profit? I think they do and then some. The problem is that the media and tech blogosphere is being really quick to shove the little guy into the ring with the iPad. It'd be like watching a Ford Focus try to outrun a BMW 530d during a chase scene in a John Frankenheimer movie.
Maybe if Robert De Niro is in the Ford Focus, and he's packing a H&K MP5.
I don't see a lot of people holding an iPad in one hand and an Amazon Fire in the other and weighing the pros and cons of each item before making a purchase. They barely resemble each other in what they would and can be used for by both casual consumer and tech adept. Employing my previous comparison, I don't see someone who went in to buy a BMW 530d being talked into a Ford Focus instead, and vice versa.
There's some chatter that Amazon's Fire could unleash doom for it's more expensive Android brethren fighting for market share. Could a cheap device being handed out at cost for the purpose of distributing paid content wreck the ambitions of devices put on the market to provide that and dozens of other services in addition, just because it's cheaper?
The tech market is largely perception based. It is for this reason that companies don't release their sales figures unless they are pretty sure they're top of the heap. Just because a device doesn't sell well, there must be something wrong with it. Given the youthful nature of the mobile computing device market, it's not odd at all that it would all look like melodrama unfolding in a junior high hallway.
The analysts making the assertion that a $200 price point will give Amazon an edge in competing with Apple haven't been paying attention to the last 10 years of mobile computing. My first laptop in 1999 was $2500 for a 200mhz. Most of the people who buy and rely on mobile computing devices are used to paying a high premium for the privilege of bringing their computer with them wherever they go. Relative to what my iPad does for me on a day to day basis, the $700 I paid back a year and a half ago seems like a bargain.
Yes, it's easy to forget that I'm not the typical iPad user and that even the games loaded on my iPad are somewhat work related. I use it to create far more content than I consume, something the majority of people who use desktop computers at home probably can't say. I'd really like to bash Jeff Bezos (it'd be easy) for his snide comparisons made during the unveiling of the Fire tablet, but he isn't trying to sell one to a guy like me.