But Amazon knows that most users simply use the default apps and services. And those defaults on Kindle Fire tablets immerse users in the Amazon universe of products -- Kindle books, movies, songs, apps, plus the entire catalog of Amazon products. Amazon dangles special benefits to Amazon Prime members.
Amazon’s Silk browser, by the way, is another source of major innovation. The browser takes every web site clicked on by the user and splits the job of rendering it between the device and Amazon’s powerful cloud services. This improves performance on the device, and is unique in the industry.
Kindles are probably the best-selling Android tablets on the market, although Amazon keeps its unit share numbers a secret. Estimates tend to hover at around one-third of the market, which makes Amazon the leading Android vendor, and the number-two tablet maker behind Apple.
In recent months, Amazon has been losing market share. But I think the new lineup of Kindle Fire tablets will prove hugely successful for Amazon.
It’s time to stop thinking of the Kindle Fire as a glorified eBook reader that also does email.
These are the most innovative tablets on the market. The biggest innovations aren’t in the hardware, but in the software, services and strategies Amazon uses to compete against rivals not in the hardware business, but in content, services and retail sales businesses.
And now, beyond being just innovative, low-cost and most heavily backed by cloud services and downloadable content -- Kindle Fires have also some of the most powerful tablets from a raw power and specification perspective.
The Kindle Fire tablets take on Apple by being more innovative. They take on Google by using its own operating platform against them -- a classic Judo move. And Amazon takes on a world of low-cost tablets from China and India by selling Kindle Fire tablets at or below cost, presumably. Amazon can do that because each loyal customer can be monetized forever through Amazon.com purchases.
Most of all, however, Amazon competes against both Apple and Google by giving users a compelling alternative to those companies’ cloud services and downloadable content.
Amazon is the most innovative tablet maker because they understand that a tablet is nothing more than a beautiful toy that functions as a cash register for Amazon to sell things.
They’re the most innovative because they don’t just cherry pick from among the innovations that are floating around out there -- they’re literally the only company doing several major innovative things with their tablets.
But the biggest innovation is that Amazon operates in stealth mode, keeping its market share numbers, upcoming product innovations and above all future business plans all a tightly held secret.
Amazon is better than any other company in consumer electronics at being underestimated.
So don’t underestimate Amazon.
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