Friendly Fire: why Amazon's going to burn Android

Kindle Fire
Amazon's lit a FIRE with its KINDLE that will BURN... you get the idea.

In times of great excitement, I like to paraphrase Noddy Holder - and today is one of those times. Ready?

So here it is, Merry Christmas

Everybody's Having Fun

Apart from all the Android firms

Who are probably chucking themselves off bridges right now

The original was a bit catchier, but you get the gist: unless Amazon's playing a great big joke and the Kindle Fire is as slow as a snail, then as far as the oh-so-lucrative Christmas shopping period in America is concerned Motorola, RIM, HP and the rest might as well pack up and go home.

For Mr and Mrs Punter, choosing a tablet this Christmas means choosing between Apple's one and Amazon's one.

The L word

Jeff Bezos' presentation was awfully reminiscent of an Apple keynote, from the montage of naysayers at the beginning to the "these three pairs of socks won't cost you three pounds, or two pounds - no, these socks are just one pound! Three pairs for a pound!" price announcement at the end.

But the most important similarity was Bezos' use of the L-word. He used it a few times, but the most important one was when Bezos said: "We asked ourselves, is there some way we can bring all of these things together into a remarkable product customers will love?"

I love my Kindle, and I love my iPad. I don't love their processors, or their RAM, or their connectivity options, or any of the other guts. I love their simplicity, and that's why I buy Kindles over other ebook readers and iPads over other tablets. Bezos - and by extension, Amazon - gets that, and the Kindle Fire clearly comes from that philosophy.

This isn't something you'd buy your mum and regret for the next three years as she calls every day with a new tech trouble; this is something you can buy as a present and pretty much forget about it. Can you really say the same about an Asus Eee Pad Transformer? It's a lovely wee tablet for you, or for me - but is it really the right thing for anyone who isn't a geek?

The Kindle Fire doesn't have to be a screamer, or particularly feature-packed: provided it does Facebook, films and Flash, that's good enough for most - and of course, the Kindle Fire does Facebook, films and Flash.

Provided Amazon hasn't made a lemon here - and let's face it, that's pretty unlikely - then the Fire is something you can sell to a non-geek in a single sentence: it's a Kindle that does music, movies, apps and web stuff too.

It's a PlayBook with email and better apps. It's a half-price iPad.

However you choose to describe it, I think you're going to have a hard job getting hold of one. The Kindle Fire's going to fly off the shelves in the same way BlackBerry PlayBooks don't.


Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.