Amazon’s new Kindle Fire colour tablet computer sold four millions units for its December 2011 release in the USA. This exceeds the 2.5 million Apple iPad tablets sold in the first month of its release.
This could be due to a number of reasons such as:
- the Fire was released perfectly in time for the Christmas market;
- at US$199 (before any Christmas discounting) the Fire is about a third of the price of an iPad;
- people now know what a table computer is whereas they sort of didn’t when Apple released the iPad;
- it seems people prefer the slightly smaller screen size (it fits easily into a handbag or even into the inner pocket of a sports jacket);
- the Fire is backed by the biggest on-line store in the world (the Amazon on-line store) which allows users to buy anything from golf clubs to books (including audible books via Audible.com) and DVDs, from cameras to music CDs, directly from the Fire;
- the Fire can be used as a Kindle Reader (except it doesn’t use e-ink so you won’t get the two month battery life of a normal e-ink Kindle Reader);
- the Fire allows for USB connectivity (so you can plug your USB thumb drive or USB external hard disk into it and watch movies, etc., from them), and finally,
- the Android apps market now has almost 400,000 apps available for download.
One of the striking features of the Kindle Fire is the screen resolution. The screen resolution is an awesome 169 pixels per inch. This is almost 30 percent tighter (higher resolution) than the iPad 2 (which is 132 pixels per inch). Amazon wanted the tighter crisper resolution so that the Fire could be used as a book reader and the text would look tight and solid.
Now that almost everyone who makes a computer has a tablet computer out there it is going to be interesting to see what happens during 2012. You have Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the Barnes & Noble Nook Reader, the Sumsung Galaxy Tab (which comes in two different sizes); Research in Motion’s PlayBook (the people who make the Blackberry mobile phones); the IBM/Lenovo IdeaPad; the Acer Iconia (which comes in Android and Windows 7 versions); Toshiba’s Thrive; the Motorola Xoom; and Apple’s iPad 2 (which might soon become—in early March 2012—the iPad 3 if current rumours turn out to be right this time).
On top of this there are strong rumours that Nokia will soon release a tablet. Also Windows 8 is likely to be released about mid-2012 and it will work very nicely on tablet computers (compared to Windows 7 which doesn’t) and there are somewhat weaker rumours that Microsoft might release their own Windows 8 branded tablet (which would likely either be a Nokia or Samsung tablet re-badged).