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Kindle Fire heat may be cooling passion for iPads

The general wisdom has been that the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s new tablet(s amzn), won’t compete head-to-head against the more expensive and feature-rich iPad(s aapl). But a new survey suggests that interest in the Kindle Fire could bite into sales of the iPad.

A new ChangeWave survey of 2,600 early adopters found that 5 percent had pre-ordered or were very likely to buy a Kindle Fire. That’s compared to 4 percent of the same group who said they were very likely to buy the original iPad. Now, of course, the iPad went on to huge sales. But initially, consumers were more likely to be cautious because the iPad was the first real standout in the media tablet category, and came with a $499 starting price point. The Kindle Fire can sell itself as a cheaper, smaller and more media-focused version of the iPad, which is easy to grasp for many consumers.

But the ChangeWave survey also found that 26 percent of those people intent on buying a Kindle Fire are also planning on delaying or holding off on the purchase of an iPad. That should be more of a concern for Apple, because these are people who may have been poised to buy an iPad but are now content to see if a Kindle Fire will satisfy them.

Of course, the long-term success of the Fire depends on more than early buzz. RBC’s(s ry) analyst Mike Abramsky, who shared the ChangeWave survey results in a note and is still bullish on the iPad’s prospects, said the Amazon tablet’s long-term prospects will depend on consumer and reviewer reactions to the Fire. So obviously, it will have to prove itself in the market, and consumers may take a look and then decide that the iPad is in fact what they want after all.

But the introduction of the Kindle Fire, and I would argue, the Nook Tablet (s bks), is giving the tablet market a little pause. Now, we have two pretty solid, low-priced alternatives to the iPad. Most people who want an iPad will still go that route, but for more price-conscious consumers, these new devices are going to catch some of their attention. With the Kindle Fire expected to sell 5 million units this year and pre-orders going well, we’re finally seeing some real competition emerging in the tablet market. But again, the proof is in the pudding, and the Fire and the Nook Tablet will have to justify themselves to consumers, low prices notwithstanding. If they can do that, this early buzz could open up the tablet market and prompt Apple to think about how it goes cheaper or smaller with upcoming devices.

5 Responses to “Kindle Fire heat may be cooling passion for iPads”

  1. Narayanan

    The survey clearly mentions is for early adopters. Geez, I wonder how many iPad early adopters are still left to draw any conclusions.

    Yes, there are people for whom the $500 iPad was too high for their use case. Clearly we are comparing As and Os.

  2. Sveyo World

    I myself like the Kindle Fire best. Kindle and Nook stand out form the crowd because they are very focused on what are they made for on first place – reading books, articles, docs and so on. But in case you need more than that – they can manage that as well. The good thing is that they are not trying to be laptops like some other tablets. You are welcome to check our Kindle Fire and NOOK tablet reviews at Thank you :)

  3. Great post and insight into the release of the Kindle Fire, I am anxiously awaiting mine. I have been looking at and researching tablet computers for a long time, my only use would be for reading and internet connectivity. I believe the answer, for me at least, is the Kindle Fire, I can’t wait to get it into my hands for a trial and blog review. Having used an IPad recently I could see how that unit is more overkill on what it can do vs. what most would be using it for. As a reader I can quickly recoop the purchase price of the Fire and like the size of the unit over the IPad as well.

  4. The key phrase = “it will have to prove itself in the market”.
    Lots of speculation. Will be interesting to see how it does. Would bet that if it does ok, Apple will respond. After all, they do have a micro iPad already, the iPod Touch. It just needs a medium sized brother. ;-)

  5. rick gregory

    The Fire and Nook Tablet, though, don’t compete on feature richness or in the breadth of things one can install on them. That’s fine, they’re significantly less expensive, but if you want a full on tablet that can install apps for almost anything, you want an iPad, not a Nook or Fire. I had a Nook Color, then bought an iPad 2. The NC is a great little tablet if someone wants a device that is primarily for reading with a little light web browsing and maybe some games. However, the size, power and locked down implementation of Android made it significantly less capable than the iPad2. Again, given the price differential, there’s nothing wrong with this at all, but if people are expecting to get iPad2 level features with a smaller screen for under half the price, they’ll be disappointed.

    What these do, though, is bring tablets into more homes that simply never would spend $500 for an iPad. People will get used to them, I imagine a lot of homes will have a couple laying around for people to use while watching TV or going off to read. That’s a good thing.