updated 09:35 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2012
Amazon Kindle Fire ad touts price over all
Amazon has started running one of its first TV ads for the Kindle Fire this week in a conspicuous jab at Apple. The spot (below) recalls Amazon's earlier ads criticizing the poor readability of the iPad but, this time, has an answer to the regular Kindle's lack of features. The $79 Kindle, combined with two $199 Kindle Fires, lets a mother at the beach give herself and her children a device each at under the price of an iPad.
"Together, they're still less than that [iPad]," she says.
As could be expected with most ads, Amazon skirts around the reasons for the low price. The Kindle Fire lacks any cameras, has just 8GB of storage, and has a noticeably smaller display that limits the kind of content it can show. Amazon is widely known to be selling at a loss and counting on $79 Prime subscriptions to make up the difference where Apple is making a profit on every device; the choice has cut much of Amazon's profit.
The commercial nonetheless underscores one of Amazon's advantages in having a low-priced device. Pricing so low allows Amazon to cater to whole families where iPad buyers often have to be more selective. Rumors have persisted of a cheaper iPad 2 that would help mitigate some of the concern, but it's unlikely to dip low enough that buying two or more iPads would be an easy choice.
Questions still remain over whether or not the ad is needed. Amazon has been secretive around actual sales numbers for the Kindle Fire, and claims have emerged that it might be cutting shipments in half with expectations that post-holiday demand would fall steeply. Apple shipped over 15.4 million iPads in the fall and, with a possible third-generation iPad launch, may not see the same slump as Amazon.