View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
3 May 2012updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Kindle Fire: “The fruitcake of tablets”

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

By Alex Hern

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:

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

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.

Content from our partners
Unlocking the potential of a national asset, St Pancras International
Time for Labour to turn the tide on children’s health
How can we deliver better rail journeys for customers?

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU