Hot on the heels of Apple’s iPad mini announcement on Monday, Amazon’s Kindle Fire went on sale in the UK today.
The arrival of the Kindle Fire is a big deal for the UK tablet market. After launching the Fire in the US last year, Amazon has amassed an impressive 21% market share. We predict that over a million Kindle Fires will be sold in the UK by the end of Q1 next year, which would nearly double the current Android share of the UK tablet market, and increase the total tablet market by 20%.
Amazon’s huge strength in this market isn’t hardware OR software, it’s the vast volume of content on offer. Even more than the iPad, the Kindle is about consumption, not creation. Users have access to a massive library of books, magazines and music, and, through their partnership with Lovefilm, a wealth of TV programmes and films too. Kindle, running a heavily-skinned version of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich, can’t match Apple’s rich ecosystem for apps, but many popular apps are there, and that will be enough for a lot of people.
With prices starting at £129, or £159 for the HD version, the Kindle Fire’s much easier on the wallet than the iPad mini. The Kindle’s not a device for the business world, but will no doubt fill the stockings of thousands of people this Christmas.
The mobile/tablet market is, pun intended, really on fire right now. Just as everyone was getting used to there being two devices that matter – phone and tablet – there’s now a third, the 7 inch.