Amazon Throws Some Choice Apps on the Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire owners will initially get to choose from thousands -- not hundreds of thousands -- of apps, but if they're mainly interested in loading a collection of popular basics onto their tablet, chances are good they'll find what they want at Amazon's Appstore. "Amazon has a good start," said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr. "So the question becomes, how will people feel about [the Fire] 90 or 120 days after they get it?"
When Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet shows up on Nov. 15, users will be able to choose from thousands of apps available for download at Amazon's Appstore. That's way fewer than the hundreds of thousands iPad owners can get from Apple's App Store. Still, if they're the right apps, who cares?
Popular apps like Pandora, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix, as well as games from Zynga, EA and Rovio, can be had via Amazon's one-click payment system.
Many other apps will be available targeting a wide range of topics -- from business information to household support. A sampling: All recipes, Bloomberg, Cut the Rope, Doodle Fit, LinkedIn, Airport Mania, Quickoffice Pro and Monkey Preschool Lunchbox.
The Basics Covered
The big question about the Kindle Fire's apps selection is whether Amazon has included the set of apps most users expect. Are there any obvious holes? Will users be muttering in disappointment and disbelief? "I can't believe they don't have that!"
Amazon has done a good job being quite clear about what apps will be available for the Kindle Fire, Jeff Orr, group director of consumer research at ABI Research, told TechNewsWorld.
"They've announced a number of partnerships that should solidify with consumers that they can expect all of the basics. They have it covered on what people expect."
What's on Fire
Certainly a good number of the apps for the Fire will support the use of Amazon content. Many believe the Fire is selling at a rock-bottom price so Amazon can put the device in as many hands as possible with the goal of selling movies and books. Yet consumers will be looking for more.
"Beyond the Amazon content -- which is the focal point for the Kindle Fire -- the question is what else can you do with it?" wondered Orr. "What type of games will be available? Amazon has a good start with that. It appears to be complete. So the question becomes, how will people feel about it 90 or 120 days after they get it? Will they still adore it?"
Another big question is how the Fire stands up against the iPad, the giant in the market.
"Amazon has thousands of apps while the iPad has hundreds of thousands of apps," said Orr. Yet Orr doesn't think that's a problem.
"People are quite numb about the number of applications out there," he said. "Amazon is testing Android apps for the Kindle Fire. They are making sure the Android apps will work on the Kindle Fire."
That will likely result in tons more apps.
Apps Matter, Not Hardware
While it appears the Kindle Fire will start out strong, true success may come only if Amazon can keep answering the question, "what have you done for me lately?"
"They have most of the bases covered. That includes weather, business news, the stock market, travel and restaurants," Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC, told TechNewsWorld. "That said, they are in such a tight race now with the Barnes & Noble Nook and with Apple, that having the basics covered will last for only a couple months. Then they you have to keep doing something extra to differentiate."
The Kindle Fire has to be a legitimate tablet, but its ultimate purpose is to drive the purchase of Amazon content, DiDio noted.
"Apps are the name of the game," she said. "That's where the value-add is. That's where the profits are. The hardware becomes a commodity, while the margin and profits are in the content."