Books written by Ray Sullivan

Friday, 7 September 2012

Let The Battle Commence

Amazon revealed today that they will, finally, be releasing the Kindle Fire in the UK ready in time for Christmas.  It was part of a much larger press release that includes new versions of the Fire, already the number 2 tablet in the US.  Among the news was that Amazon are targeting iPad territory head on with a larger screen size.

This comes after a summer where Apple have hinted heavily that they will be releasing a seven inch iPad, a device that Steve Jobs strongly resisted - I don't know if he ever said 'over my dead body' but essentially that would appear to be the case.

It also follows the release of the Google Nexus, a seven inch tablet that the new Fire is competing against pound for pound, dollar for dollar.  It's a very competent device too - I've been using one since its release.

So, running up to the holiday season, UK consumers have a plethora of tablet devices to choose from, or hint to their partners about.

There's the iPad, of course, leading the pack.  The advantages of the iPad are many: it has a brilliant screen, it works very smoothly, it is well established as the market leader and it has that superlative iCloud environment to support it.  The downside is that it expensive - fine if money isn't an issue, but for those of us in the real world....

Then there's the seven inch tablet war that will rage on in the background.  We had the Kobo Vox last Christmas and that's a fine machine but lacking a camera for Skyping.  Now we've got the Nexus, already creating a stir (most people ask if it's an iPad when they realise I'm not holding my usual Kindle).  Coming up sometime in the autumn is the Nook - don't ask when or where but B&N reckon they've forged an alliance with a major UK retailer.  The natural contender should have been Waterstones, but they've swung behind Amazon.  It could be WH Smith who are currently one of the Kobo resellers and the one who was well and truly shafted earlier this year by Kobo, but I'm not convinced as they host their eBook site on Kobo.  Finally we have the Fire coming up, and that is going to have a lot of promotion that will push the tablet concept across the board.

This is going to be a big year for the tablet industry, and a bad one for print.  It may not look like it at the time; we need the tablet effect to percolate through, but in a year, maybe two we will look back and realise that the print world has changed into a decline.  We will be reading books, magazines and newspapers routinely on our tablets - not exclusively by then but fast forward to, say, 2018 and it will be the norm and new print books will be relatively rare items.

Stand back and watch the fight unfold.


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