Amazon’s new tablet device, called the Amazon Fire is set to challenge Apple for Tablet dominance, and just might be the one to expose some chinks in Apple’s armor. I find the software running on these devices effectively irrelevant when done well; it should be easy to use, and effectively transparent to the user as they jump between lightweight applications and content. Apple got this right, but also had the advantage of a strong developer network and existing content relationships, providing a well-executed OS and stuff worth using on that platform. Contrast this with HP/Palm’s WebOS, also well-executed but severely lacking in the “stuff” department.
Now Amazon enters the foray, armed with the leading e-book library, a budding collection of video assets, a few years of tablet-like devices under its belt, and a well-loved brand on par with Apple. Amazon also has the distinct advantage of a compelling store for physical goods in addition to digital content, something Apple obviously lacks. If the Fire provides easy access to this wealth of “stuff” and delivers an OS that gets out of the way, we may finally have a viable iPad competitor.
I commented briefly on this with the Christian Science Monitor, and the full text of their article can be viewed free here. Look for my comments towards the end of the piece.