I Don’t Typically Do This

by Martin Gordon

It's not about what it is. It's about what it does.

Amazon just announced the Kindle Fire, a 7" tablet priced at $199. In contrast to the existing Android tablets out there, Amazon doesn’t focus on specs. In fact, Amazon offers just as many specs on the main Kindle Fire page as Apple does on the iPad page – they tell us that the Fire has a dual-core processor (but no mention of clock speed, amount of cache, model number, etc) and that the Fire has a 7" screen with IPS technology, “similar technology to that used on the iPad” (their words, not mine).

For example, the Motorola XOOM page tells us (if we have Flash installed): “The dual-core process MOTOROLA XOOM has a larger screen, more pixels and higher-quality front- and rear-facing cameras than the competition.” These types of marketing messages have questionable value because they require consumers to assume that “better than” comes with no strings attached and assumes that consumers can draw the conclusion that better specs imply higher utility.

Instead, Amazon sets aside those assumptions and clearly articulates the utility of the device: you can read books and magazines, watch TV and movies, listen to music, check email (a jab at the email-less RIM Playbook, no doubt), use apps and play games.

Rather than telling us what the Kindle Fire is and expecting us to figure out what it can do, Amazon saves us the trouble and tells us what it does. And what it does is extremely compelling.