The tablet landscape is changing this week.
It seems like we have been talking about the upcoming launch of the Amazon Fire and Barnes & Noble tablet for a year! Now the time has arrived. This week pre-orders will be shipped, regular online ordering will be available, and both tablets will be available in stores.
Yep, even the Kindle Fire will be in stores. In a well orchestrated press campaign, Amazon has been coming out with surprise after surprise in the buildup to the Amazon Fire’s launch. One of the surprises is that the Amazon Fire will be widely available in stores. According to an announcement from Amazon, the Fire will be found on shelves at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, RadioShack, and other national retail chains. 16,000+ brick-and-mortar stores in all. Amazon’s drip, drip, drip of surprises has included expanded choices in movies and TV shows for Amazon prime members, access to the Kindle Lending Library, availability of e-books that can be borrowed from local libraries, and thousands of available apps for the fire.
By comparison, Barnes & Noble’s launch of the new Nook Tablet has been swamped by Amazon’s press crush. In Google News at the time this story is being published, there are 4940 results for the words “Kindle Fire.” For “Nook Tablet”, there are 1300. The search of Bing news finds a slightly better ratio for B&N, 5394 for “Kindle Fire” and 2310 for “Nook Tablet.” Still pretty much an Amazon Fire landslide.
But regardless of who ultimately wins this tablet battle (and even with B&N’s more powerful tablet, we are betting on Amazon’s massive amount of content to win the day), the whole idea of what a tablet is… is changing.
Six months ago, tablet prices of $250 and under were unthinkable. E-readers were popular, but they weren’t tablets. And while apps and games on a tablet are fun, the introduction of the Kindle Fire, and in some ways the Nook Tablet, are ramping up the expectations of tablets as major multi-media entertainment centers.
As an example of changing attitudes, it will come as a surprise to many (who don’t read NFS) that T-Mobile is also launching new tablets this week. The T-Mobile SpringBoard, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Neither of these are shabby tablets by any means. Pre-Kindle Fire and pre-Nook Tablet, they may have garnered much more attention. But a check on Google news within the last hour finds just 34 results for “T-Mobile SpringBoard”, and 248 for “Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus”.
Other tablet producers will have to act quick to catch this wave.