Kindles Are Going to Be More Common on Campus than Cheap Beer
Let it be known that September 28, 2011 was the day that that tablets and e-readers were introduced to the mainstream student market.
Amazon today announced three new models of its E-Ink based Kindle, including an entry-level model for just $79. For just $20 more, you can pick up a touch screen model, and you can add free 3G to that for a $50 premium. Three Kindle models, from $79-$149, and they are all going to sell like mad.
For those kinds of prices, the device would probably pay for itself over a four year college career through relatively-inexpensive ebook pricing, at least for students who have to buy a lot of novels for classes. There’s really no excuse not to get an ereader now.
The real star of the show though is the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s new 7″ touchscreen tablet. It’s $200. This will be the first tablet not made by Apple to be widely successful.
It’s an Android tablet, but much like the Nook Color (which seems so quaint now), you wouldn’t know it. The interface is heavily skinned, and users won’t even be able to shop on the Android App Market. Instead, you’ll have one-click access to Amazon’s App Market and its massive music, video, and book catalogs. Unfortunatley, for the video marketplace you’ll really need to get a $79 Amazon Prime subscription ($39 for students), as the
discounted free six month student demo accounts don’t include video.
The browser is very clever, processing web pages on Amazon’s servers, and sending compressed data to the Kindle to improve load times. It’s reminiscent of the mobile Opera browser, and it’ll be interesting to see how it functions in practice.
I’ve played around with 7″ tablets before, including the original Galaxy Tab and the the RIM Playbook (which has very similar hardware to the Fire), and I’ve come to realize that for the core competencies of a tablet, a 10″ screen is the way to go. For consuming videos, web pages, and images, and especially for PDF class readings, there is a distinct advantage to the larger screen on an iPad.
That said, the Fire’s $200 price tag allows it to be a Trojan Horse for college students. Millions of students will return to school in January having received this for Christmas, and I really think it has the potential to make tablet computing a mainstream activity on college campuses. Once students become accustomed to incorporating a tablet into their workflow, they can gradually upgrade to more-expensive 10″ iPads or Android tablets.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that any of these devices will be available until November, but preorders will be opening today.
Will you be getting your hands on the new Amazon hotness? Let us know in the comments.