Adding to this in September, we said Amazon had to nail four things: It had to move beyond the calculator looks of earlier Kindles; have decent optimized performance plus long battery life and a great screen; in terms of the ecosystem “if Amazon has forked Android and has its own OS layered on top of it, then it has to be perfectly polished, and a joy to use. It has to be as intuitive as Apple’s user experience, and it has to work seamlessly with Amazon’s own music, video, and book content”; and, lastly, it of course had to get the advertising and PR right.
So how’d the company do? Amazon’s Kindle Fire arrived with smooth PR, a sleek press event launch worthy of Apple, a design that was based on low tech but with a highly optimized UI on top so that the slow speeds weren’t an issue (plus the UI was a slick, pleasant, and unusual gateway into the apps and Amazon’s content sources), and both acceptable battery life and the same high-quality IPS LCD screen tech Apple championed for the iPad. It’s priced perfectly at $200–less than the upper limit we’d guessed, and it’s selling by the millions.