Once Again, Amazon Takes Everyone By Surprise
Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is slowly becoming a technology company. Who would have thought? A year ago, no one would have believed the bookseller was capable of making tablets, yet Jeff Bezos surprised us all. With Steve Jobs gone, the tech world is left with only a small number of visionaries: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Jeff Bezos. Among them, Jeff Bezos appears to be making the smartest choices recently. After its success with the Kindle Fire, Amazon this week upgraded its whole line of tablets with four different products: the Kindle Fire (the old model, but with a better processor and memory), the Kindle Fire HD (7 inch), the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" and Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE. Obviously, I'm going to discuss the Kindle Fire HD, since this is the one that's most likely to be a threat to the newest iPad or Google Nexus 7 tablet. As a tablet, the Kindle Fire HD comes with a Dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP processor, which is said to be better than Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core and 16/32/64Gb of memory. I assume that inside there's 1 GB of RAM. To differentiate from other tablets, Amazon has added new features to the Kindle Fire HD: Dolby Digital Plus dual speakers and two dual-band Wi-Fi antennas with MIMO technology. For those who don't know, MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology uses multiple antennas (both the transmitter and the receiver) to improve communication performance. In addition, the display is significantly improved. It's now a 1920x1200 HD display with 16:10 resolution that is capable of delivering 254 ppi. The new iPad retina display has 264 ppi, meaning that the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is very competitive. The colors and the viewing angles even in daylight have been improved by laminating the touch sensor and the LCD together into a single layer of glass. Kindle Fire Content As Jeff Bezos likes to say, the Kindle Fire is all about services (and content). Amazon is betting big on content, just like Apple is betting on apps or the Nexus 7 on Google Now. The main core of the Kindle Fire line is the Amazon Prime service, which gives you access to a huge list of books, movies, songs, games, etc., as well as free two-day shipping, for just $79/year. With the Kindle Fire HD, content now moves to the next level: HD — HD movies, HD magazines, HD games and so on. Currently, there are more than 100,000 audiobooks available. Thanks to a new feature, called Whispersync for Voice, whenever you're too busy to read, you can switch between listening to your Audible audiobook and reading the companion Kindle book. With the Immersion Reading feature, you can read a book and listen to the Audible version at the same time because the Kindle Fire HD can now synchronize Kindle text with companion Audible audiobooks in real-time highlighting. Wanna let your kids play with your Kindle Fire for a certain amount of time? No problem. With FreeTime service you can set daily limits for your kids, while encouraging them to read books. It's great for both kids and parents. Kids know that they can play for only a certain amount of time, but read as long as they want. Perhaps some kids might find more fun inside books than by watching a movie or playing a game. Conclusions I don't know what analysts think, but it doesn't matter. After Apple, Google and others, Amazon is proving it can innovate to the tech world. Apple may have invented the tablet, others might have just copied or changed it a little (Samsung?), but Amazon is showing everyone that you don't have to build the ultimate tablet if you want to succeed. You have to be loyal to your customers and find ways to entice them to use your services. Like Apple and somehow Google, Amazon has a huge content library, stored on their own servers. It's fast and has competitive prices. Amazon has found the perfect way to build bridges between an online business, content, and smart devices. I have to agree that Jeff Bezos is slowly following in Steve Jobs's footsteps, and I'm waiting patiently to see what Amazon will release in the future. One thing is certain: They will continue to innovate.