Amazon’s Fire doesn’t go on sale until next week but significant numbers of potential tablet buyers already consider it a worthy alternative — or at least complement — to the mighty iPad.
Apple’s tablet has seen many competitors come and go (or come and go and come), and even those which remain have scant share compared to the iPad, which has sold some 26 million since April 2010 and owns a staggering 75 percent of the market. Amazon — with extensive e-ink, e-reader experience but none in actual computers — may seem like an unlikely giant killer. Indeed, asked in a poll commissioned by Retrevo.com, “Do you know what the Amazon Kindle Fire is?” 32 percent said they did not.
But 77 percent said they thought the Fire was either a tablet or an e-reader — both accurate enough answers. And 44 percent said they’d “consider” buying one. And only 12 percent said they would only consider an iPad this holiday season.
Interestingly, current tablet owners said they were far more likely to buy another one than consumers who’d be buying their first. But among current owners, there was more potentially good news for Amazon: 27 percent said they’d get a Fire compared to only 20 percent who would get another iPad. This doesn’t necessarily suggest dissatisfaction with the iPad as much as a desire for diversity. But it would appear to be the first indication ever of greater consumer interest in a non-Apple tablet, and it seems to affirm the initial critical consensus that the Fire may be the first device to seriously answer the question: “Why wouldn’t I get an iPad?”
Price may also be part of the appeal: Amazon’s $200 price tag isn’t much more than the cost of a high-end e-ink reader, and 60 percent cheaper than the cheapest iPad.
But value always trumps cost. Amazon may have out-Appled Apple by building a smaller mobile device (7 versus 9.7 inches) that does nearly 100 percent of an even smaller number of the things that draw people to the iPad — just as the iPad made believers of even skeptical notebook users by emphasizing media consumption over creation, and making e-mail, web surfing and sharing a touch-screen paradise.
The survey was conducted in October among more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, Retrevo said.