Amazon Opens Fire? Nope, it's Not a Declaration of War on Apple it's a New Boon for the Media Industry. Well Here's Hoping… - Matthew Kearney

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Amazon's new tablet, the "Fire": $199

The product announced Wednesday 10am at a press conference in Hell's Kitchen New York comes on sale on 15th November. It's got an iPad sized color screen, is designed for content consumption, is relatively low-priced at $199 and is Android powered and has audio. Furthermore, Amazon has lined up a wide range of products available through its App store.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO showed us Fruit Ninja, and glimpses of an X-Men movie and Esquire magazine, to remind us that content deals are in place with the likes of Time Inc. and Hearst.

So it is no Kindle. That groundbreaking black and white, none touchscreen LCD product is great for text only consumption and eBooks (and a new low priced $99 Kindle was also announced today). However, "Fire" has a color, high resolution screen and is capable of use for book, magazine, TV and a sophisticated software platform behind it. It has been designed for content consumption and a platform for ecommerce.Amazon+Fire

So is it a declaration of war on Apple?

That is how the consumer facing news media and business media are portraying it. Unlike other tablet launches, this one is backed by one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms there is with a mass of consumer information and credit card details. So it is being portrayed as an ecommerce as well as a hardware battle.

And the iPad's performance as an "Ultimate Buying Machine" (per a recent WSJ headline) is a matter of record with 4%-5% likelihood of a purchase by an iPad visitor to an ecommerce site versus 3% for a PC user. However, affluent young professionals buy iPads and affluent younger people spend more online, which may have more to do with this stat than a tablet device.

The iPad is expensive, and that will always limit its potential to penetrate to all consumers. However, as we've seen with android smart phones and the iPhone, the two standards are able to co-exist. In fact the android smart phones expanded the installed base of smart phones dramatically. The Fire seems to be priced to do the same for the android tablet.

Time will tell if there's room to co-exist – and that would be the ultimate outcome for the Media World.

We need Fire or something like it to succeed

The media industry needs a similar android break-out product for the tablet. So Fire can expand the tablet user base dramatically. It would drive paid for content – gaming, magazines, movies, TV, books, newspapers. It would drive advertising. It has color/audio/hi-resolution/mobile but with a big screen has all the ingredients needed for impactful messaging. It would also create some needed competition between retailers Amazon and Apple.

Matthew Kearney has been working in the media in London and New York, in TV, cinema and in online for nearly 20 years. He joined the Daily Mail's leading news site MailOnline last year. Matthew can be reached atmatthewjkearney@gmail.com.

Read all Matthew's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Matthew Kearney.

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