Amazon is set to to have the biggest launch in history in November, with pre-order plus first day sales that could surpass the iPad 1 and 2 by far. Today we saw in the news that Amazon has pre-sold 95,000 Kindle Fire tablets in the first day alone, and a new screenshot leaks shows us that they're continuing to sell 50,000 per day, and it seems they've already surpassed 250,000 pre-sold units.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is based on Android, although it's not a "Google-vetted" version of Android and it has none of Google's services, or even an e-mail client (for now). However, Amazon is smart to stay inside the Android ecosystem, and they'll try to take full advantage of that. Soon, we might even see Amazon partner with companies such as Samsung or HTC to show more of their apps and content on Android devices made by those manufacturers. Of course, it won't happen overnight, and they'll need to see if the Kindle Fire can sell millions of devices first, but that's probably a pretty good bet that it's going to happen seeing these numbers.
But one thing I'm excited about is not just that Amazon will finally provide some serious competition to Apple, but that they are also setting high expectations for $199 tablets, and they are showing other manufacturers that they should target this market, too. Perhaps you and me wouldn't buy that kind of tablet, especially if it doesn't have an ultra high-resolution or 4+ CPU cores, but think about all the people who would just want a tablet that works, with no "unnecessary frills".
The potential is huge, and honestly I'm a little disappointed that some other big manufacturer didn't try to make that happen earlier. It's probably because they didn't want to wind down the prices by themselves, and would rather keep the standard around $500. If you remember Motorola, they actually tried to set it at $800. Heck, HTC is still doing it with the Jetstream, which will go for $700.
Tablets are consumption devices, that are not really worth $500 except for technology lovers. If they can play HD videos, run apps and games, help you listen to music, then there's little reason for a mainstream customer to get a $500 tablet over a $200 one.
Believe it or not, this might hurt Microsoft the most. It's already very hard to put a $500 Windows 7 tablet with an Atom CPU in it (x86 chip, where Microsoft's strength lies). It will be impossible to make a $200 Windows 8 tablet with at least a dual core Atom CPU by late 2012/early 2013. They can use the ARM chips, just like Android, but then what do they have to offer there, with currently no Metro apps for the ARM platform. That might change by launch time, but it's a very big gap to fill.
So have you already pre-ordered a Kindle Fire or are you planning on getting one at all?