Since Amazon.com first announced the Kindle Fire in September of last year, the 7-inch tablet has dominated the Android tablet market. The first version made Amazon the third-largest tablet supplier in the world, behind Apple and Samsung. The recent release of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the upcoming Kindle Fire HD 8.9 look to solidify the Kindle Fire's dominant position, though the Google Nexus 7 is a very strong competitor.
The rumors swirling around the iPad mini, however, should give Amazon.com pause. With a reported 7.8-inch screen, aggressive price, and -- of course -- Apple's brand power, the iPad mini could pose a serious threat to the Kindle Fire. Is the iPad Mini a Kindle Fire killer? LAPTOP Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer discussed that question on Fox Business.
Apple has an uphill battle in its effort to dethrone the Kindle Fire. According to Spoonauer, the Fire has a number of competitive advantages. "The Kindle Fire is a real player for a number of reasons. Number One: It's $199," Spoonauer said on Fox Business. "Number Two: If you go to Amazon.com, the Kindle Fire is the first thing on the screen. It's the world's best free advertising when you have a $199 tablet that you see anytime you go to the world's most popular shopping site."
Spoonauer also believes that Amazon.com can use Apple's own tactics -- ease of use and availability of content -- to make the Kindle Fire more attractive. "Amazon has done a nice job with the user experience," he told host Charles Payne. "The Kindle Fire is easy to use, and it's all geared toward -- guess what? -- consuming Amazon's content. Amazon is actually following Apple's model in that sense. It's very similar to iTunes."
Nevertheless, he argues, Apple's selection of apps and the rumored price point of the iPad Mini could make it a strong contender for the top spot in the seven-inch tablet market. "Apple's trying to hit a low price point," he said. "We're hearing anything from $249 -- although I don't think they'll go as low as $199. And there are 250,000 apps for the iPad. If you can get that in a smaller and lighter device, Apple will have a home run this season."
Spoonauer also took time to praise the Nexus 7 from Google. "I feel that the Nexus 7 isn't getting enough credit, because they're hitting that $199 price point too, and they've amassed a lot of content in the Google Play Store," he argued. "And although they don't have as much as Amazon and Apple, the design of that product is better than the Kindle Fire. With the Google tablet you get a lot more apps and it feels like you could do a lot more with it in terms of productivity."