As John Gruber said about the iPad: like other products, the Kindle Fire will start small, but grow large.
Amazon is making a play with the Kindle Fire, like the play they made with the original Kindle. They started with a product that may have lacked features. It wasn’t perfect, and had in some ways less than competitors, but it shipped. Every year, the e-ink Kindles get better, and every year the Kindle Fire will get better.
Like the iPhone or iPod
To quote the original ‘Rolls’ article:
In 2007 [the iPhone] debuted with no third-party apps, no 3G networking, and a maximum storage capacity of 8GB. One year later, Apple had doubled storage, added 3G and GPS, and opened the App Store. The year after that, Apple swapped in a faster processor, added a compass and an improved camera, and doubled storage again. The pattern repeats. We may never see an iPhone that utterly blows away the prior year’s, but we’ll soon have one that utterly blows away the original iPhone.
The problem with the Android tablet competition is that they attempt to beat the iPad on a checklist every year. They show a list of all the ways their tablet is ‘better’ than the iPad. Unfortunately, rather than polishing a few features that can be better, they stuff as many raw features as they can. This creates a subpar tablet experience.
The Kindle Fire is taking things slow, but not taking the competition for granted. Bezos and his team are focusing on a few small things they can do better, rather than trying to ship it all. Stereo speakers, 4G data plans, faster Wi-Fi, and broader cloud offerings will crush any Android competitor and give the iPad a run for it’s money.
Keep the prices steady
Amazon makes it’s money from the content, and they’re going to keep their prices at a level Apple, Samsung, Motorola and the others can’t compete with. If they keep rolling the Kindle Fire line-up and build it to par with the best tablets, they’ll capture a significant portion of the market.