Amazon and Barnes & Noble are stepping up the competition for Apple in the tablet market.
In general, it’s been pitiful watching companies trying to compete with the iPad and the iPad 2. Nobody’s really gotten any traction. As just one example of an attempt that was less than successful, Vizio has an Android tablet they originally priced at $349 (versus the $499 iPad.) But nobody bought it so now it’s going for a $189 street price!
What makes the iPad so magical is that it’s a beautiful piece of art and it brings you into the ecosystem of Apple when you use it in. The genius at Apple is getting you to be a part of their whole culture of well integrated software and hardware.
Amazon opens “Fire” while Barnes & Noble paints in “Color”
Amazon has been paying attention to the success of the iPad and responded with the $199 Kindle Fire, a product that’s all about being part of the Amazon ecosystem. To really make the Kindle Fire come alive for you, you need to be a member of the Amazon Prime loyalty program.
For the equivalent of $7 a month, Amazon Prime members can get free movie downloads, free two-day shipping on most Amazon orders and now free e-book lending (including New York Times bestsellers.)
In response to Amazon, Barnes & Noble has now come out with the new Nook Color ($249) designed to get you into their (less robust) ecosystem.
How will the competition respond?
So now you have two serious competitors creating a three-horse race. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up!
My executive producer Christa is hooked on both Apple and Amazon. She has her Kindle app on her iPad 2. She’s also a member of Amazon Prime. Her husband and kids all use e-readers and share books. As Christa says, quoting an unknown source, “Steve Jobs is like one of the greatest crack dealers ever.” That shows you the level of addiction people have to his products.
It’s very possible that either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or perhaps both) can be winners, along with Apple. The question is where do other manufacturers like Vizio or Hewlett-Packard find a winning concept? Because they don’t have it yet!