Reasons the Amazon Kindle Beats the iPad

October 9, 2011

The Kindle Fire is burning up the charts.

Purported pre-sales of the newly announced Kindle Fire by Amazon suggest the tablet is on track to outsell the iPad in first-month sales. If accurate, that’s big — really big. So far, competing brands have done nothing to rival Apple’s splash nor dominance of the growing tablet market. The Fire is the first real competitor. It may not be the first, first, but it is the first with the LOW PRICE!!!

Apple iPad sales are as brisk as ever, of course, but there’s plenty of reason for the excitement surrounding the all-new, color screen, touch-enabled Kindle Fire. To borrow an Apple word, it’s different. But it’s also similar enough to the iPad that a lot of consumers might view it as a worthy alternative — indeed, something better.

Start with reason #1, stop there is you have had enough, but it gets better down the article. Me personally, not too concerned with Amazon specific offerings, I am more concerned how it functions as a general computing pad gadget.

1. Eye-popping affordability. At $199, the Kindle Fire sells for less than half the price of the iPad, which starts at $500. So for every entry-level iPad bought and sold, you could buy two and a half Fires. That alone is turning heads, especially since the previously released and uninspired iPad clones have tried to charge as much as Apple for a much less desired product.

2. A lot more content. Content is king. And iPad may be king of the apps, but Kindle Fire bests it considerably by volume of content. The Fire will have immediate access to the 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books already available on Amazon’s easy-to-browse virtual shelves.

Apple doesn’t cite how many TV shows or songs are available, but the number appears to be far less in annecdotal searches.

Want to rent instead of buy? There’s an app … er, a solution for that, too: 10,000 movies and TV shows can be streamed instantly. Those numbers are huge, and growing everyday.

3. Free storage. If you want to take all your content with you, the entry-level iPad and its puny 16 gig storage drive leaves a lot to be desired. You can buy more, but it’ll cost you. Which is why the Fire’s sales pitch — free cloud storage for all your Amazon content — is so enticing, especially since Amazon is already the no. 1 digital bookstore, the no. 2 mp3 store (behind Apple), and high on the list in other categories.

For content you don’t buy from Amazon, there are about 6 gigs of free space on the Fire to do with as you please.

4. Democratized apps. One of the biggest knocks on the Apple AppStore is that it’s a closed system—if Apple doesn’t like your stuff, no app for you. One of the biggest knocks on the Google Android software powering nearly every other tablet out there is that it’s too open—you’re required to sift through a lot of junk to get to the goods.

The Kindle Fire hopes to bridge that gap with the Amazon Appstore, which remains open like Android, but only makes available the very best and most popular apps from the open market. The result: More free apps without the hassle, the best of both worlds approach.

5. Ergonomics – Easier to hold. The 10-inch iPad is a lot of fun, but hard to handle with one hand due to its weight and size. The 6-inch Kindle reader, on the other hand, is a lot easier to hold. With only one hand, you can hold it for several hours without fatigue. The new 7-inch Kindle Fire promises the same: capable of being held with one hand, lighter than the iPad, and a lot more portable.

Where the compromises are: All of those pros don’t come without sacrifices, however. The Fire’s screen is 3” smaller than the iPad, which might not make it as ideal a device for watching movies or playing HD games (that’s to be seen, though). Furthermore, the Fire lacks a lens and microphone, so it won’t be able to snap photos, shoot video, or accept video calls.

But for $300 less, those are things I bet a lot of people can live without. You already should have a $100 camera, bought from Amazon, natch to do those chores.

The Kindle Fire goes on sale Nov. 15 for $199.

Isn’t that the real reason it’s burning up the charts, and will win in the end???
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Google Android, Ubuntu

June 19, 2009

Android is getting a whole lot of interest lately, and a whole lot of “why can’t I run it on my desktop. A better question is why would you want to run it on your desktop?

android-ubuntu

While Google Android is built on the Linux kernel, all of the applications for the mobile operating system actually run on Google’s custom Java runtime. In other words, Google Android doesn’t run most native Linux applications, and most Linux distributions can’t run Google Android apps… yet. But Canonical is working on software that would allow Google Android programs to run natively on Ubuntu Linux.

Google’s Android platform is well-suited for phones and maybe tablets, but isn’t targeted for, nor ready for netbooks. After all, would you really want to run the iPhone version of Safari or the Windows Mobile version of Word on your desktop computer when there are far better word processors and web browsers designed for desktop operating systems? It’s a matter of resources available at the point of use, and there is no point restricting yourself to limits if it’s not necessary.

But in the long run, running Android on Ubuntu could expand the developer community for both Ubuntu and Google Android. If you develop an app for one, it probably would not be that much work to get it to run on the other. The move could also make it much easier to come up with ways to synchronize the data on mobile devices running Google Android with a desktop computer running Ubuntu.

Development is still in the early phases, so it’s possible that the whole project could lead nowhere. But the screenshot above (grabbed from Scott James Remnant’s Twitpic stream) of Google Android programs running on a machine with Ubuntu Netbook Remix installed certainly suggests a world of possibilities. And on that I think we could all agree, expoanding the developer space is a good thing.


Will Android Chip Away At Windows’ PC Dominance

June 11, 2009

It’s quite possible that Android, a Linux based smart phone OS, will increasingly encroach on Windows dominance. Windows generally suffers from the same thing, the giant hair ball of design school, which eventually makes it impossible to maintain and the result, Windows rot. The OS just slowly winds itself into the ground. You probably have had that happen to you, I know I have, countless times.

Trying to be too many things to too many people will have that effect.

Goggle bills Android as open source for the wireless world. And it’s price that is swinging the argument. You just can’t beat free. But then there is this — Acer has already made official its intention to field an Android powered netbook in Q3 of 2009. Along with Acer will come more computer makers as firms try the alternative OS to reduce costs. Dell and HP are also both looking at selling Android powered netbooks. So the swell is building.

But where will it crest. There is no good reason Android won’t take over on the desktop as well. If it’s fast enough, it’s hardware requirements are modest, since it is cellphone oriented, then people may find the limited functionality of Android is ‘good enough’. The cheap PCs Android runs on “good enough”. After all, what do people do with their PCs these days? Interent, Internet, Internet and a little Quicken or letter writing on the side. But for the most part it’s all network centric, the network has truly become the computer.

The Wall Street Journal reports that analysts believe Android will slowly chip away at the dominance of Windows in the notebook and netbook market. Some analysts also predict that Android will eventually turn up on desktop computers as well. With the backing of a major player like Google, Android is able to better draw attention and developers to its operating system than some of the other flavors of Linux.

Some of the Android usage agreements also allow the Google logo to be used; a netbook or notebook with a Google logo on it would be more recognizable to consumers than a notebook running another Linux variant like Ubuntu. This could potentially be a huge selling point for those manufacturers, since ‘google is the net’ to most people.

Research firm Gartner is expecting Linux (including Android) to grab 2% of the consumer market in 2010, up from an estimated 1.7% this year. Use of Linux is also expected to grow in the corporate market as well with a market share for Linux predicted to be 2.8% in 2010, up from 2.7% this year. At the same time, Windows’ market share is predicted to decline. The main driver is cost, the netbooks, and low end laptops are extremely price sensitive, it’s really hard to beat free.

If Android delivers, the price of Internet computing could plummet.

More at The Wall Street Journal (subscription)


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