Kindle Fire: The Fruitcake of Tablets

A blog about business and economics.
May 3 2012 9:20 AM

Is The Kindle Fire The Fruitcake of Tablets?

I have an iPad 2 and my wife has an e-ink Kindle but no tablet. Some day in the future, I'll probably upgrade to the new iPad and give her my old one. In other words, the high price of iPads is moderately deterring us from engaging in massive consumption of iPads, but it's not actually diverting us into other lower-cost product lines. On the other hand, when we needed to buy a Christmas gift for someone we knew to be tablet-less, we got him a Kindle Fire.

Not coincidentally, it seems that in Q4 Amazon had a 16.8 percent share of the tablet market which suddenly collapsed to 4 percent in the first quarter. That leads Joe Weisenthal to dub the Kindle Fire the fruitcake of tablets, a product that people are happy to buy as a gift but don't want to buy for themselves.

Advertisement

To speculate a little, nobody needs "a tablet" the way lots of people need "a phone" or "a computer." You might want the best computer, but what you need is "a computer" so there are lots of points on the price/quality curve where you can sell computers. But nobody needs a tablet. Some people want the best tablet and some of those people buy it. But if the iPad value proposition doesn't appeal to you, you just don't get one. Maybe in a few quarters they'll be cheaper or the specs will be better or financial circumstances will have changed and you'll reconsider.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?