Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kindle with Special Offers for $114

 A cheaper Kindle being offered.... At $114 the "Kindle with Special Offers" is $25 cheaper than the current cheapest Kindle. It is available for pre-order from Amazon.com, and will ship May 3.
Very interesting indeed. This cheaper Kindle will be supported by advertising - advertisements while you read and advertisements while the Kindle is in sleep mode. Per Amazon, "Kindle special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen. Learn more about all three latest-generation Kindle family members--$114 Kindle with Special Offers, $139 Kindle, and $189 Kindle 3G--at www.amazon.com/kindle. Kindle with Special Offers is now available for pre-order to customers in the U.S. and will ship on May 3."

I for one didn't see this coming. I was going with the popular belief that Amazon would come out with an Android version of the Kindle, turning it into some form of an iPad competitor. Of course, such a belief was also fuelled by the desire to see the ultimate consumer-focused company, Amazon, pitched against the perfection-obsessed-can-do-no-wrong-risen-from-the-ashes company, Apple. But, if you think about it, it makes a whole lot of sense for Amazon to not muck up the Kindle by adding to its weight, diminishing its battery life, and making it yet another me-too iPad-envy-bitten competitor. The Kindle's battery life is "legendary", its light weight is a huge USP, and its e-ink screen actually makes reading books possible. The Kindle operates in a space where it is seen as the best in the market - ebook reader. The Kindle and iPad are very different devices, and to try and conflate the two is more in the realm of dreamy what-if thinking than realistic analysis.

But, make no mistake, there well could be some sort of Kindle-pad type of device that Amazon builds. It just won't be a Kindle replacement, for the Kindle as we know it. The Kindle ebook reader has been wildly successful, raking in billions of dollars in revenue for Amazon. Plus, Amazon has built a brand in the Kindle. A brand that is almost as recognizable as the iPhone or iPad. And even more importantly, the Kindle brand denotes quality and an aura that brands much more expensive aspire to. Amazon would be silly to dilute this brand. Doing a brand extension via a KindlePad would be risky, but far less risky than trying to turn the Kindle ebook reader itself into a tablet.
  • John Battelle does not believe this is going to work out. "Oh Lord. I have to tell you, I don’t see this working out. That’s a total gut feeling, but …well we’ll see."


© 2011, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.