Will The Clouds Go Down the Amazon?

Kindle Fire: Out of the Box
Kindle Fire: Out of the Box (Photo credit: Brian Sawyer)

You have to admire the spunk of Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon.com).

Today, after the release of Amazon’s tablet, ‘Fire‘, he fired the opening salvo towards the heavily-fortified Apple castle with this quotable quote: ” There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.”

While it’s true that both companies ran perpendicular business models, the short-term future may see these two pioneering firms seeing eye-to-eye, toe-to-toe in the fast-evolving, streaming multimedia market.

Yep, Apple creates very elegant products that command premium prices.  On the other hand, Amazon was only an accidental player in the cut-throat tech hardware market.  Their only hit hardware product was the Kindle.  And, they had no choice but to come up with it to augment their status as the number one digital book purveyor.

Recession-friendly priced at $199, middle-class Americans – who are already credit-pinched- will take a long hard look at Amazon’s Fire tablet before casting their fate to Apple’s uber-popular iPad.

If they feel the Fire didn’t scrimp on quality to achieve that $199 price tag, they might forego altogether that burning desire to get Apple’s iPad (which this author still believes, is really an over-sized, over-priced version of the iPod Touch…ho-hum, really nothing new in here except a lot of advertising superlatives).

After all, gadgets will still be gadgets while the $300 price discrepancy can feed a lot of homeless folks in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Only time, – and, maybe, apps – can tell if this Fire created by Amazon will be strong enough to generate the right amount of rain clouds to douse the scorching heat generated by  Apple.

The Great HP TouchPad Fire Sale

On the 3rd week of August 2011, HP announced the news that they were exiting from the very competitive mobile business.

HP TouchPad as seen with regular price at a Best Buy store
English: HP TouchPad with webOS on a Touchstone. Deutsch: HP TouchPad mit webOS auf einem Touchstone. Español: HP TouchPad con webOS en el dock de sincronización inalámbrica Touchstone (Photo credit: LA Times)

Apple and the Android-folks led by Google were making it too difficult for HP to breathe in the mobile arena.  It had only been more than a year since HP acquired the PDA-smartphone-mobile device pioneer from Palm.

On the following day, they decided to liquidate all their mobile devices inventory. And so, the Pre phones as well as the HP TouchPads – which they had introduced just a month earlier – had to be sold at steep discounts.

I am a frequent HP.com buyer, but, on that fateful day, I had totally forgotten to check out their website.

Three days later after the announcement, all the HP TouchPads were sold out.

The fire sale overwhelmed HP and so they promised that more HP TouchPads are coming at the same discounted prices: $99 for the 16 GB and $149 for the 32GB version.

I am still waiting.

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