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While Wednesday’s announcements from Nokia and Motorola were probably shrug-inducing in Cupertino, Thursday’s announcements from Amazon were more of the “Why are my shorts riding up?!” variety.
Amazon didn’t reveal a phone or a set-top box as many speculated it would (not yet, anyway), but it did announce a murder of Kindles (not a lot of people know this, but Kindles and crows both take the same collective noun), including some 9-inch HD devices that are priced to move. Priced to move content, that is. (BOOM, PROFESSIONAL WRITER HERE.)
The Macalope has long wondered why everyone has to be making their own tablets, phones, and toaster-fridges—used to be that you would just try to be the best you can be and the kids would beat a path to your door—but Amazon really seems to be getting it right. Because while it’s made its own platform, it’s still working hard to get on other devices.
“Verizon Wireless to preload Amazon apps on select Android devices” (tip o’ the antlers to Michael Gartenberg)
Amazon should not be concerned with selling Kindles. It should be concerned with selling content. And that is precisely what it’s doing. Kindles are a storefront for them, a means to an end, not the end itself.
The Macalope doesn’t know how much Amazon has spent to date to make the entire Kindle line, but he’d be very shocked if it came anywhere near the $12.5 billion Google spent to acquire Motorola, even without what it spent on its own before that.
Amazon has cleverly co-opted Android for its own purposes, leveraging the technology against Google. “Thanks for the operating system and building up the developer base! Sorry you don’t have as much content as we do! Ha-ha, not really!”
While it was easy and correct to say that last year’s Kindle Fire was really more Google’s problem than Apple’s, it’s a little harder to say that about this year’s models. Sure, it still makes things hard on Google, but Apple’s got to be wondering where its sweet price advantage went.
Well, it went to ads, that’s where! Yes, the Kindle Fires are all ad-supported now. That’s the user-experience equivalent of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick for Apple customers, but it’ll probably pass muster with enough people to rack up decent sales. It’ll be $200 less to get a 16GB 8.9-inch Fire HD than to get a current generation iPad. You could get an iPhone and a Kindle Fire HD instead of an iPad. Or, you could get a Kindle Fire HD and an infinite number of free Android phones. With an infinite number of contracts, of course.
Apple long had both a price and ecosystem advantage over “competing” (LOL) tablets. Cupertino’s ecosystem is still the best, but the price advantage is gone, or will be come November 20 when the larger Kindle Fires ship.
Your move, Apple.
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]