New Kindle Fires
I suppose in the spirit of due diligence I should say something about the new Kindle Fire variations that were introduced at last week's Amazon event.
To be honest, I'm having a hard time getting excited about them. It seems to me we are quickly approaching — or perhaps have already arrived — at a point where technology improvements are less important than ecosystems, consumer experiences, ease of use, and other user-friendly aspects. Every technology goes through this "plateau-ing" process. When was the last time anybody sold a LaserJet printer based on an increase in DPI? With every technology, at some point in time the technology can produce results that exceed human perception — at which point the focus shifts entirely to convenience.
Sure, the new Kindle Fire models have increased screen resolution and zippier processors — but we've already seen that in the iPad 3 and the Nexus 7. Sure, the new Kindle Fire models have increased battery life and HD movie capabilities — but we've already seen that in the iPad 3 and the Nexus 7. The bottom line is that there is technological parity between the three big players, now, and it seems to me that we are entering the phase where systems are the ones that will drive consumer purchases. Do you prefer the iTunes paradigm and the massive Apple ecosystem? Do you prefer the flexibility of the Google paradigm, the Google Play store, and the full-featured Android OS? Or, do you prefer the Amazon ecosystem with its emphasis on e-books, Audible, Amazon Prime, and it's customized and limited Android OS? Choose your ecosystem and you will find a piece of hardware that will satisfy your needs — tablet sizes, features, and specs all about the same — with some substantial differences in prices. This will be particularly true once Apple introduces a 7 inch screen model that competes with the Nexus and Amazon 7-inchers.
So, if you are yet to join the tablet world and are contemplating your first purchase, the research I suggest will be most useful to you is not a feature by feature comparison of the various tablets, but rather an in-depth review of the three leading ecosystems and their operating methodologies and trajectories. Chevy or Ford, Sony or Panasonic, Betamax or VHS, Word or WordPerfect, AT&T or Verizon, Nikon or Canon — we've seen this all before. You jump in and live with your choice.