Kindle Fire: "The fruitcake of tablets"

Kindle Fire's marketshare fell by 10 percentage points over the last quarter. But why?

Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider notes an interesting implication of a statistic reported today:

AMAZON TABLET SHARE FELL TO JUST OVER 4% 1Q VS 16.8% IN 4Q

That could simply mean that the Kindle Fire – Amazon's only tablet (e-readers are a different category) –  had strong demand from early adopters, and fell short as that market dried up. But Weisenthal suggests that the alternative explanation is that the Fire:

Is something people will buy as a gift over the holidays, but won't buy themselves to actually use.

It's pretty hard to test that theory, but Weisenthal offers up a load of anecdotal evidence:

Our Jay Yarow owns an iPad, but bought two Kindle Fires as gifts for relatives.

Matt Miller of Bloomberg said the same thing on Twitter.

So did Market Plunger on Twitter.

I can add my own experience to the list: my extended family has four iPads and no Kindle Fires between them, but when we started talking about buying a tablet for my grandfather, a Fire was the default choice (until someone pointed out that they aren't actually out in the UK yet).

Matt Yglesias suggests this is because nobody needs a tablet. If you want a tablet, you want the best one, but because there's nothing pushing you to make the purchase, if you can't afford it, it's fine to wait.

I'm not so sure. Nobody needs chocolate, either, but that doesn't mean Green and Blacks outsells Dairy Milk. I think it's the far simpler reason that the Kindle Fire simply isn't very good. It's not just that no-one needs a tablet - it's that no one who wants a tablet feels that the Kindle Fire is good enough to bother with.

Why, then, buy it as a present? Because it's still a tablet. It's not good enough to want, but it's good enough to give.

A Kindle Fire. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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OK, let's do this: who REALLY won Legs-It? An exclusive investigation

Look, some of you just aren't treating this question with the seriousness it deserves. 

This morning, the Daily Mail front page dared to look past the minutiae of Brexit - can my EU partner still live here? Why is my holiday so expensive? Should we be worried that David Davis looks like a man who's ended up a minister because he lost a bet? - to ask the really big question. 

Yes, indeed. Who is Top of the Tibia? Who shines in the shin department? Which of these impressive, powerful women has lower limbs which best conform to our arbitrary beauty standards? 

In the accompanying article, Sarah Vine (herself the owner of not one, but TWO lower limbs) wrote that the women put on a show of unity with "two sets of hands clasped calmly on the arms of their respective chairs", disdaining the usual diplomatic practice of accompanying discussions about Article 50 with a solemn, silent re-enactment of the Macarena.

Vine adds: "But what stands out here are the legs – and the vast expanse on show. There is no doubt that both women consider their pins to be the finest weapon in their physical arsenal. Consequently, both have been unsheathed." That's right, people: Theresa May has been unafraid to wear a skirt, rather than a pair of trousers with one leg rolled up like LL Cool J. A departure for Mrs May, to be sure, but these are uncertain times and showing off just one calf might see the stock markets plunge.

The prime minister has come to the bold decision that her legs are the "finest weapons in her physical armoury", when others might argue it's the sharp, retractable venom-filled spurs on her fore-limbs. (Oh wait, my mistake. That's the duck-billed platypus.)

As ever, the bien-pensant left is squawking about sexism and avoiding the real issue: who really won Legs-it? Well, there will be no handwringing over how this is a belittling way to treat two female politicians here, thank you very much. We shall not dwell on the fact that wearing a skirt while doing politics is not really remarkable enough to merit a front page, oh no. Instead, we shall bravely attempt to answer that Very Important Question. 

Who really won Legs-it? 

1. David Cameron

We might not know who won Legs-It, but let's be honest - we all know who lost. David Cameron here has clearly concluded that, much like Andrew Cooper's pre-referendum polling results, his legs are best hidden away while everyone politely pretends they don't exist. 

Legs-It Rating: 2/10

2. Michael Gove

Fun fact: Michael Gove's upper thighs are equipped with sharp, retractable claws, which aid him in knifing political rivals in the back.

Legs-It Rating: 8/10

3. David Davis

Mr Davis's unusually wide stance here suggests that one leg doesn't know what the other is doing. His expression says: this walking business is more difficult than anyone let on, but I mustn't let it show. Bad legs are better than no legs.  

Legs-It Rating: 6/10

4. Boris Johnson

Real talk: these legs don't really support Boris Johnson, they're just pretending they do to advance their career. 

Legs-It Rating: 6/10

5. George Osborne

Take in these long, cool pins. These are just two out of George Osborne's six legs. 

Legs-It Rating: 9/10

6. Liam Fox

In the past, Liam Fox has faced criticism for the way his left leg follows his right leg around on taxpayer-funded foreign trips. But those days are behind him now.

Legs-It Rating: 10/10

7. Nigel Farage

So great are the demands on the former Ukip leader's time these days, that his crotch now has a thriving media career of its own, independent from his trunk and calves. Catch it on Question Time from Huddersfield next month. 

Legs-It Rating: 7/10

Conclusion

After fearlessly looking at nine billion photos of legs in navy trousers, we can emphatically conclude that THEY ARE ALL BASICALLY THE SAME LEG. Life is great as a male politician, isn't it?

I'm a mole, innit.