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Will the missing "Google Experience" on Amazon's Android tablet extinguish the Fire?

The Social Times' +Frank McPherson disagreed with my recent column, in which I argued that Google was being made a sucker out of Amazon because that company is using Google's own Android OS to smother the Android tablet market while simultaneously competing directly with Google on many strategic businesses.

Frank's argument is that Android's lack of Google apps means the Kindle Fire doesn't have the "Google Experience," which is so appealing that its absence, he implies but does not say, will eventually limit the Fire's success.

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I personally think this helps the android platform by gaining further trust with regular consumers. By getting the consumer used to android through the tablet +Amazon sells even more android phones since the user is already accustomed to it. Plus Android is open source so Amazon is free to use in whatever way see fit.
I think the Kindle Fire will serve Google well in court when others accuse them of having a Monopoly or being anti-competitive. It will help them to be able to point to things like this where other companies are using their platform to make money.
Never used a Kindle or Nook. To me they seem to be platforms to acquire the products offered by the brand. Over the last couple of years we've witnessed the internet become more open to fulfill the human demand for transparency and integration. Limiting Google's products hurt the level of utility the Fire will bring with it, but helps ensure residual profit from purchases. I prefer open access and multi-use products, the fire takes out one of the best tools in its new toy.
Tom Lee
Not gonna get the Fire at this time due to a few reasons:
1. I don't buy anything V1.0
2. Fire doesn't have lots off Google apps.
3. It doesn't have Chrome.
4. Can I get on G+ with Fire? no
5. Amazon will drop their price further.
6. Not versatile enough even the price is appealing.
Ditto regarding the iPad.
May take a look at the Asus.
I agree 100% with +Frank McPherson. If I had a Kindle Fire at all, it would only be so I could root it and run pure Android, for exactly the reasons he talks about. I like Amazon and all, but not enough that I'd need to carry around a point of sale device for them at all times. That Google Experience is what I'd need, because everything for me is in that cloud, from my music to my photos to my books.

I had disagreed with your article, +Mike Elgan, when I first saw you post it based on the simple fact that while those of us in the tech community are perfectly aware that the Kindle Fire runs on, at its core, Android, the general population has no idea. It's not advertised as an Android tablet, there's nothing on it indicating that it is...unless you know, lots of luck finding out (unless one asks a geek like us). To them, it's just an e-reader they can also watch movies on.
I got a Fire because I like trying out new interfaces. (I also have a Windows 7 phone for the same reason). I like that the Fire does a lot of things different than other Android tablets. It has a bit more personality. I too miss some of the Google experience on the Fire. I also miss them on my iPad :)
I must be amiss about the "Google Experience" but aren't we really summing that up as a skin and a few pre-installed apps that the user could install anyway?
I also don't agree with the comment about the Fire being a point of sale device... if that were true then iPads would be classified as Amazon point of sale devices as well, the app store uses Amazon.
+David Bates: No, it doesn't; it uses the Apple app Store. You can download the Amazon app store on it (just like you can on Android), but that's not the point of it. The entire point of the Kindle Fire is to connect to Amazon services. Period.
+DeAno Jackson Are you average? If so, then you're right. However, my belief is that you're not average. I believe the average Kindle Fire buyer will not root it and run pure Android. My belief is that millions of people will buy the Fire -- more than all other Android tablets combined, and they will use it without using any of the Google services that normally come with an Android device, except for Search.
+Mike Elgan: Oh, that part I agree with. My point is that the average consumer, if what they're looking for is an Android tablet, isn't going to buy the Kindle Fire because it's really not an Android tablet; it's an Amazon tablet. While it being a dirt-cheap tablet, I'm just not sure if it's going to take that big of a bite out of the Android tablet market for that reason.
+Mike Elgan I agree with your last comment. Most user's will not root it. They will not use the android marketplace and they probably will never even know that there are a ton of amazing google apps out there. I also believe that developers will start to submit more apps to both marketplaces so that apps will be available to whatever device and that user's will recognize android when evaluating phones and that Fire will eventually sell more Android devices.
+DeAno Jackson you are mistaken my friend. The Apple app store is powered by amazon. Hence all apps are sold through amazon. Try to dispute a charge.
Will the lack of the "Google Experience" kill the fire? No. It won't have any real effect on it, except when the "average" user starts to realize that they are missing out on THOUSANDS of apps that appear on competing tablets. However, that issue will come to little to late for those that have purchased the device.

Average users may also start to feel the burn when they go to look for updates that are announced on websites like Google+, Twitter and Facebook. When they go into the Amazon Appstore, they will see that their apps do not have updates yet. They will also do the research to find that the Android Market is, possibly, a month or so ahead of Amazon when it comes to said updates to favorite apps. In contrast, a good number of users won't care when you consider that a majority of their apps will be from the "Free App of the Day".

Now, I am NOT an average user. Many that are reading this post thread are NOT average users. Those that follow tech personalities want an inside edge to the technology we love. We already know most ins and outs to our devices, and are looking for new tweaks that we haven't found.

I see the Kindle Fire being a MAJOR thrust into the dominion that Apple has laid claim to. Amazon does have a few things that Google currently is still trying to build up. An infrastructure for delivering numerous forms of content that will make users quenching their hunger for entertainment. Amazon has that. It has Amazon Prime, eBooks galore, music and more. The Kindle is the gateway to all of that.

Need I say more?
I think the question we should ask ourselves, is that why do people(the average person) buy tablets, and does the Amazon tablet satisfy those reasons.In no particular order
1. Apps
2. Productivity
4 Reading
The tablet is good for entertainment and reading but limited in terms of apps and productivity. As time goes on, Amazon will have to provide more apps and more productivity tools. Like +Mike Elgan pointed out, they may decide to go to one of Google's competitors, but i highly doubt it. Google provides good quality at minimum cost.
Another thing to point out is that because of it's low cost, Amazon will be the number one iPad alternative. As more people buy it, they will use it for some time, and will probably want something more. The odds that their next tablet will be a full Android tablet is very high(especially if Amazon does not improve on the apps and productivity end). Whichever way, Google wins
Alex T
Good point, Damilola.
Stan G
Kindle buyers probably won't root their KF, android buyers looking for cheap hardware might and probably will if it will give them back their gmail or maps or calendar.
My mom bought a fire. After playing with it the last two days, it's definitely klunky.

Access to the real market is sorely missed, the amazon interface is poor at best, and half the apps crash regularly.

The hardware is solid for my needs , but the software isn't ready.
Thought I would through this out there in regards to my comments plus a few others. I didn't consider all of the Android users out there that DO have access to Android Market on their phones. When they get the Kindle, they will know it is built on Android. With that, they will try to find the market, only to be let down. Is it possible that it will cause a huge let down to the average consumers that are aware of their products?
Just got a kindle fire for my 94 year old mother. Had no problem setting up Gmail, it is built into the mail app. She is really thrilled to be able to get books and the Amazon app store works for what she needs. If someone of her age can learn the kindle in 2 days, I don't see the need for a generic android experience. A win for Amazon and no loss for android as far as I can tell.
+Matthew Ghilarducci the real question is: how does Mom feel about her Kindle? She is probably much closer to Amazon's target audience than you or I. I'm the guy that installed Cyanogenmod7 on my wife's Hero, since HTC/Sprint weren't interested in keeping the OS updated. an Amazon Prime member and someone who has been buying from AmazonMP3 since its inception and, more recently, the Kindle ebook ecosystem, buying the Kindle was a natural for me. From the perspective of someone that can see the full potential of Android, the Kindle Fire seems a bit crippled. But for Amazon media (books, music and video) the tablet works flawlessly and is easy to use. For these purposes, the $200 Kindle Fire is an outstanding value.
Good thread this one. I really agree with the +Justin Virly ubiquity and +Gabriel Bousquet anti-competitive comments. The average consumer wants to access their email, books and music. However when it comes to appointments strangely I see people fragment their calendars all over the place whether it be on facebook, work outlook and mobile but that's another issue altogether.

Google is doing a great job of allowing us to store and access our information with the 3 S's in mind. (Speed, Simplicity and Security) While building on these services they have been wise to avoid the pitfall of being a walled garden. The Amazon Fire has potentially done a huge favour to Google here and should give other industries like newspapers food for thought.
+Mike Elgan: Everybody's talking about Amazon vs. Google, Android vs. the Fire from a consumer standpoint. From a developer standpoint, it's great. Sure, not every API is available but every Android-like device that a developer can build an app for is a win for Google. Certainly better for the Android ecosystem than if Amazon had gone with a different or totally homebrewed OS.
I would argue that android is just a very unique animal.

And that without android, there is an entire sphere and dimension of computing devices, around the world, that simply would not exist, Gapps or not.
After reading both articles and all the comments, I think google is not in immediate danger. Unless Amazon's brand if tablets really take off over years. the sure is still running chrome OS right? So, google gets more exposure. but at the same time missing the google experience, which will prevent people from getting one who like the,google experience. And yrs, I think this includes write a few non-techs. I think that with its price the kindle is more a direct competitor to apple than google. At least until adhesion gains serious traction and/our people start preferring Amazon's experience OVER google's. That's the gamble google is taking, obviously.
Stan G
Kindle customers and Android tablet customers are different market segments. Right now they hey don't overlap much but that might change in the future as they try to convert new people to their faith.

Kindle might be more useful for an average Joe than fully blown Android tablet, meaning Rubin miscalculated what people really want, he just gives them what he can - Honeycomb on Xoom, for example.
I love the can read reviews about products, written by people who have read reviews about products, that were written by people who have never used the product.

*posted with my Fire
Stan G
I use a lot of both the old Kindle and the newish 10'' Android tablet. They do not replace each other and I don't believe KF can replace all my tablet needs either.
A couple of thoughts. I think a lot of people are attracted to the Fire because of its low price. Many of those people desire an iPad but can't afford it. The question is, after a while, will those people continue to be satisfied with the Fire or will they grow frustrated when they find they can't do everything on the Fire they could do on the iPad?

On the other hand, let's not forget that the Kindle Fire is Amazon's first iteration. They may release more models and they will certainly release new versions of the Fire. What remains to be seen is where Amazon takes the Fire.

I think at the heart of this discussion is the bigger question of, what are the reasons why Google has Android? Certainly ad revenue is a big reason, but I can't help but feel there are more that we don't know about.

The same can be asked of Amazon, why did they expand beyond the eReader to add more functionality? Certainly the Kindle Fire is an answer to the Nook, and certainly Amazon thinks the Fire will help them sell more merchandise, but it's not like people don't buy stuff from Amazon on PCs and other devices. So what is Amazon's long term vision for Kindle?

The answers to why Google and Amazon are even in this market will lead what future iterations of these devices and services will go.
Stan G
Umm, Amazon needed something better than e-Ink device. I still think e-ink is the best for reading but it's terrible for anything else.
I totally agree with that. I want my google apps.
Amazon & B&N have created a new segment within the tablet market. Good for them. Google wasn't really there much anyway. For the market that Google has been caring about, people will stick with tablets and phones that offer the full Google experience (which will be the more up-to-date and cutting edge of the two, given that Google actually MAKES the OS). Would you buy the Asus Transformer Prime if it had the amazon experience instead of the Google experience?
Hopefully Amazon's market share will cause developers to start putting their products on the Amazon Appstore. Unfortunately I was an Android early adopter and purchased many apps from the Android Marketplace. Some of which work on the Fire, but I am not paying for them a second time. Instead, I rooted, added the Android Marketplace, and then unrooted. I have all of my apps back. This doesn't matter for the average user though because the odds are: A - They don't know it is running Android anyway. and B - If they were a real power user they would buy a full tablet. The purpose of this is remote access to Amazon content (mostly).
I thought about rooting my Kindle fire, installing apps from Android market and then unrooting. Instead, I've returned the Kindle to Amazon even though there was much to like about it. I want a pure Android tablet with access to Android market and OS updates. For $100 there are a number of better options available including HTC Flyer at Best Buy and the Samsung Galaxy tab. I did like the 7 inch form factor. My ipad2 sits idle on my bedside table and I generally use my Android phone to read books, listen to podcasts. The 7 inch size is the sweet spot!
+Fiona Lindberg I would agree with you. If only Amazon would release their Amazon Instant Video app on Android I would use a full tablet. The experience has been horrible when trying to use a browser.
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